Elderly clients disposing of property interests
Elderly clients disposing of property interests

The following Private Client practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Elderly clients disposing of property interests
  • Tenancies
  • Constructive and resulting trusts
  • Tax implications
  • Inheritance tax
  • Capital gains tax
  • The pre-owned assets regime

Elderly clients frequently seek advice from their professional advisers on how to dispose of their house to relatives, either permanently or so that they no longer own it but can remain living there. The first is relatively simple but often not sensible, while the latter can create any number of problems. Property interests consist of those in freehold and leasehold property. Leasehold property is generally understood to mean a long lease that looks and feels like full freehold ownership. However, clients may sometimes also wish to pass on various types of shorter tenancies.

A property is generally the client's single most valuable asset both in monetary and psychological terms. Property ownership can, in some circumstances, defeat claims to benefits that the client feels should be available to them but, on the other hand, can also be important to the client’s continued independence. There is no doubt that the fear of future care is a motivating factor in the attempt by many elderly clients to have their cake and eat it.

It should be noted that some interests can be disposed of unintentionally, as in the case of constructive and resulting trusts.

Additionally, consideration must also be given to the gift with reservation of benefit and pre-owned assets tax regimes as well as the effect that the transfer may have on the ability to claim benefits.

Disposals can be

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