As the population continues to age, the issue of financing long-term care for seniors has become an increasingly prevalent concern. One solution that families often turn to is selling property to cover the costs of care. However, when individuals lack the capacity to make decisions about their property and finances, due to mental incapacity, and they have not created a lasting power of attorney giving authority to deal with the sale of their property, the Court of Protection steps are required to authorise the sale.
Who is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection is a superior court and has jurisdiction over the property, financial affairs and personal welfare on behalf of individuals, who are deemed to lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. When it comes to selling property to cover care fees, the Court of Protection plays a crucial role in ensuring that the process is carried out in the best interests of the individual.
The Sale of Property to Cover Care Fees:
1. Assessment of Mental Capacity: The first step in the process involves an assessment of the individual's mental capacity. This assessment is typically carried out by medical professionals and social workers. If the individual is found to lack capacity, the Court of Protection becomes responsible for making decisions regarding their property and finances.
2. Application to the Court: In order to sell the property to cover care fees, an application must be made to the Court of Protection. This application is usually submitted by a family member or a trusted individual known as a "deputy." The application outlines the reasons for the sale and provides details about the property and care fees.
3. Best Interests: The Court of Protection's primary consideration is the best interests of the individual. This means that any decision made regarding the sale of property must be in the individual's best interests, taking into account their wishes and feelings as much as possible, along with any views expressed by family members or healthcare professionals.
4. Valuation and Sale: The Court will often require a professional property valuation to determine the property's market value. Once the valuation is obtained, the Court may authorise the sale of the property to cover care fees. The proceeds from the sale are typically used to fund the individual's care and meet their ongoing needs.
5. Ongoing Reporting: The Court of Protection maintains ongoing oversight of the individual's financial affairs, including how the proceeds from the property sale are managed. This ensures that the person's best interests are continually protected.
Selling property to pay for care fees through the Court of Protection can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. As every case is unique, and the court's decision will be based on specific circumstances, it is crucial to navigate this process with the best interests of the individual in mind. At Lanyon Bowdler, we act as professional deputies on a number of cases and our highly experienced Court of Protection department will be able to advise and support you when dealing with such matters, as it is essential to comply with the legal requirements and ensure that the individual's wellbeing is upheld throughout the process.
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.