`It's all I have left to leave'

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AN 80-year-old widow, living in her own house, recently approached a firm of Liverpool solicitors to ask them to make it over to her three children, writes Roger Dobson.

The house was worth around £50,000 and her only other asset was £5,000 in a deposit acount.

"I was concerned my health was failing and that within the next 12 to 18 months I might well have to go into care. I had heard that if the house remained in my own name, the local authority would take its value into acount when calculating the charge forthe home," she said.

"My husband worked all his life to get this house and I'm not having the Government take it off me. That is all I have to leave to the children," she added.

Her solicitor, Richard Bark-Jones, who asked that his client not be named to protect the transfer, said: "The woman, whose home is not on Merseyside, was advised that under current legislation if she was admitted into care within a period of six months of making the gift, then the local authority could take the value of the property into account and could charge the children directly for the accommodation.

"She was further advised of the possible pitfalls in making the gift, such as children becoming bankrupt, one of the children getting married or dying, their children using the house to raise money, or a simple falling-out within the family.

"Notwithstanding this, we were instructed to proceed with the preparation and completion of the Deed of Gift, transferring the house into the names of the children.

"This is a relatively inexpensive exercise for which we had to get the title deeds for the lady. The deeds for the house are now in the children's names and she is happily living there."