UK: Protect Your Assets - Plan Your Future

Last Updated: 6 March 2013
Article by Claire Carberry

Most of us consider making gifts to family members with a view to keeping those assets 'in the family'. Such assets may have only sentimental value or they may be worth considerable money – such as the family home or a share in a business.

Whilst it is important to have an up to date Will to gift assets after death, many people also consider lifetime planning, i.e.. making gifts during their lifetime.

There are a number of reasons why people choose to do this, including recognising the support someone has given you, avoiding administration delays on death or incapacity, or passing on assets to loved ones.

Your options

Once you have made a gift, there is no turning back. It is important that you spend time considering your financial security and other issues before transferring assets to anyone else.

Outright gifts

You can simply gift assets to one or more individuals however, if one of the recipients of the gift subsequently dies, divorces or suffers financial difficulties, problems may well arise. As such, we would strongly recommend you look into the option of transferring assets to a trust rather than directly to children or other individuals.

Family Trusts

One option is to transfer the assets (most commonly property) to two or more people who will hold these assets upon terms agreed by you in a formal deed.

Terms included within the Trust Deed might state that although a property is held for your children, the property cannot be sold whilst you or certain nominated people (for example, your partner) continue to live there or perhaps that the property can be sold at any time with a view to buying a more suitable replacement property which would also then be held on the same terms.

This would offer you a degree of protection whilst ensuring that your children ultimately benefit.

Something else worth bearing in mind when setting up these arrangements is that there are likely to be tax implications, so it is important to take advice before making gifts or setting up any trust.

Long term view – paying for care

One risk that you must consider when transferring any asset is what will happen if you need to pay for your long term care in the future. Recent press coverage has highlighted this issue, including the complicated and changing rules surrounding the qualifying amount of capital savings for care home fees.

If you fall below the required criteria for the NHS to award you with fully funded care, then your assets will be assessed to see if you are able to fund your own care.

The rules are complicated however most people who have more than £23,250 in assets, including their home, have to meet the full cost of care. The threshold differs slightly in Wales, and in Scotland care home residents are able to access free personal care.

If you own a property the value of that property may be included in your financial assessment.

What if you need care and you have given assets away?

If you have already given assets to your children, or you have transferred assets into a family trust, then the value of those assets should not be included in your financial assessment.

However, if the Local Authority can show that the assets were transferred to avoid paying for your care then it is possible for them to still include the value of those assets in your financial assessment as what is called 'notional capital'. It may even be possible for the Local Authority to send the bill for care to the person who has received the transferred assets. It is therefore important to take advice on the risks before making any transfer.

Also bear in mind that the care provided by the Local Authority might not be the standard you would choose. If you give all your assets away you might not have a choice!

A carefully drafted and up to date Will

If you don't feel comfortable about transferring your assets during your lifetime but you still want to protect those assets in the future then you should consider reviewing your Will.

There are easy to understand and effective ways of protecting your assets for your family by making provisions in your Will. If you already have a Will, you should review it regularly, particularly if there are any changes in your personal or financial circumstances; for example, if you are getting married, divorced, moving house, or having children.

The majority of people usually want to leave their assets to their partner outright on their death. By doing this you put your assets at risk should that partner have financial difficulties, enter into another relationship or need care in the future.

If you want to be certain that your assets will pass down to specific individuals in the future (e.g. your children) then you may wish to consider leaving your assets to them instead however this could leave your partner financially vulnerable. It could also result in your partner (or a third party on their behalf) making a claim against your estate for further financial provision. As a result we would usually recommend a family trust to help to reduce these risks.

Next Steps

There are different types of trusts that can be used depending on the value of your assets and whether you are married or in a civil partnership

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.