I'm elderly and may need to move into residential care soon due to mobility issues. Will the local authority force me to sell my home to pay for the care? I'm very concerned as that will mean my husband could be made homeless. Can you advise?

This area of law has become quite complicated recently with the concessions and flexibility the local authority now has, and can offer you, and the answer is not straight forward. The bottom line is that if you own a property, it's likely you will have to pay your own care home fees. You will have to undergo what is called a financial assessment, for the local authority to assess whether you have to pay your care home fees or not. This financial assessment is means tested. Currently if you have assets worth more than £23,250.00 in England you will have to pay for your residential care needs.

It may be that your property isn't included in the financial assessment of your care home needs, especially if you have other assets which can be used to pay for your care needs, which is then termed a property disregard. You will then not have to sell your property at all.

The local authority cannot sell your home if this will render your husband homeless. The value of your home is disregarded from the financial assessment whilst your husband remains living in it. However if your husband moves from your home then your share of the sale proceeds will be taken into account in your financial assessment. The local authority can also register a restriction against your property at HM land Registry that, when the property is sold, the cost of your care will then be paid to the local authority.

It is best to discuss your care circumstances with your family and the local authority to see what is best for you. However the local authority cannot demand that you sell your home if it will render your husband homeless.

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.