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Protecting estate from care costs

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  • Protecting estate from care costs

    Hello, first time posting, hopefully this is the right forum.

    My father died about ten years ago. He and my mother worked hard all their lives but were not well off. My mother had a low-paying full time job but was not able to completely support herself financially after my father died. So since then I have helped out. This includes paying the debts of my father's estate, paying for work needed on the house, and paying the mortgage for the last decade. I would guess this amounts to 100k or so, all in all. This will continue into the future as well. They were good parents and I do not begrudge it. I am an only child.

    The house is in my mother's name and the final mortgage payment was made recently. She is now in her 70s. She wants to leave everything to me when she dies. The house is really her only asset.

    In the future it is possible that my mother may require care, and the council force her to sell the house to pay for it, leaving nothing in the estate. We would both like to avoid that situation, especially as I have effectively paid up front for part of my inheritance! Is there anything we can do now to prevent that? I can see three options (maybe there are more):

    1. My mum is happy to put the house in my name, but I am concerned what would happen if I ever divorced, or went bankrupt. Or possibly there are tax implications to owning a second home? Could I give her a right to reside for life, or something like that?

    2. Or could the house be in joint names, would that be better?

    3. The last thing I thought about was recording everything I've paid to my mum as a loan and registering it as a charge against the house.

    I would be grateful for any advice!

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