Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day gives us the opportunity to thank that special person in our lives, whether it be our mother, stepmother, grandmother, mother-in-law, or even our other half. Maybe you will say thank you with a bouquet of flowers, a scented candle, afternoon tea or just a simple gesture with breakfast in bed.

Maybe the ultimate gift would be to share your home with your mum on a permanent basis, perhaps because they wish to downsize from their current property, are in need of extra company or are finding it difficult to live on their own.  More and more families are now deciding to pool their resources and purchase a property together, and while this can work out to be a successful remedy, there are a number of matters to take into account.

It may be that, for unforeseen reasons, there is a relationship breakdown between yourself, or other immediate family members, and your mother. Your mother may be missing her independence and either party may start to regret the decision.

It may be the case that you predecease your mother or run into financial difficulties or marital problems which could result in the house having to be sold, leaving your mother without a home.

It is also important to consider the position should your mother be unable to live at home any longer and needs to move into care. If the Local Authority are asked to contribute towards care in the future, they may refuse to do so on the basis that your mother deliberately deprived herself of money, by selling her home, to avoid paying care costs. However, the Local Authority should disregard this if it is shown that she was contributing a reasonable share towards buying the new property and both of your names are included on the deeds.

The views of any other siblings should be taken into account and any arrangements should be discussed as a family unit to avoid any confrontation or angst at a later stage. If it was decided to give the other siblings their share of the proceeds of sale at the time of the new purchase, then the Local Authority would have a strong argument that this was deliberate deprivation, which would affect any future care costs.

Where there are a number of siblings what is the best way for them all to receive their inheritance following a death? It would be possible for mum to leave the other siblings their share of the proceeds of the house she sold as a gift in her Will, but this may result in the current property having to be sold and the co-owner may not be able to raise the capital to buy the other siblings out

When purchasing a property with co-owners it is important to purchase the property as Tenants in Common rather than Joint Tenants, so that you can make your own decision as to what happens to your share in your Will. If parties are contributing financially towards the purchase of the property in different shares, it is also really important to enter into a document called a Declaration of Trust which confirms how the equity in the property is held and how it is divided on sale.

Negative as it may seem, it is important to plan for everything that could go wrong, and seek professional advice to ensure that all eventualities are considered, so that all parties go into the matter with their eyes open and ultimately create a positive, happy environment.

SAMANTHA ANASTATIOU – SOLICITOR

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