The Protective Property Trust

The Protective Property Trust, also known as a Life Interest Trust, may be a useful addition to your Last Will, as long as you don’t delay. You may wish to include a protective property trust in your will if:

  • Your family includes children from previous relationships, and you want to ensure fairness for them without disadvantaging your spouse or partner. You may also think it likely that your spouse will remarry after your death and wish to protect the interests of your children against any future relationship, without harming your spouses’ interests.
  • You and your spouse or partner are concerned that you will be one of around 70,000 people who lose their inheritance to the local council through community care tax. This can wipe out all but the last £14,500 of your estate.
  • You do not wish to leave your share of your property to your partner, but do wish to give them the right to live in the property for the rest of their lives, before it is passed down to your children. You may well provoke a claim under the Inheritance Act if this aspect is not dealt with thoughtfully.
  • If you are worried that you may need nursing home care in the future, your local authority may have the right to force the sale your home or put a charge on it. They will use the proceeds to meet the costs of your care. You cannot transfer your property to relatives to avoid paying nursing home fees without falling foul of the law.
  • However, you can include a protective property trust in your will containing the following instructions: upon the death of you or your spouse, half share of the property is put in trust for your children or other beneficiaries instead of passing it directly to the surviving spouse.

Wills involve Two Parts

First, your home needs to be owned by both husband and wife. The ownership is changed so you each own half, which is the usual situation where you technically each own all of it.

This allows both of you to write a special last will, where either partner has the lifetime right to reside in the other half of the home after the first death, as well as their own half. So when either of you has passed, their half of the property goes into special protective property trusts written into the will. The benefits of protective property trusts include:

  • Disinheritance of children through remarriage of the survivor. The survivor can only leave their half of the property as they wish and not the half owned by the person who died. That share will eventually go to their beneficiaries decided on by the first to die.
  • Substantial protection against care fees, unless you are unfortunate enough to both need long-term care at the same time. Even then, there is the possibility of saving some of your capital. However, this protection will not be available if the property trust wills were put in place after there was a reasonable possibility of long-term care being needed.

What can happen?

Your home may have to be sold to pay for your Long Term Care costs.

Your savings and investments could be wiped out.

Any income would be assessed and used towards the cost of your care.

Your children and grandchildren could lose their entire inheritance.