Let’s see the benefit of signing over your home to your children, so, let’s abandon the rose-tinted spectacles.
I once had a leather skipping rope. For me, it was an ornament rather than exercise equipment.
Then, I gave it to my nephew.
As a gift.
I got irritated at the boy because I discovered he no longer had the rope. He had traded it for something or other at school. The details of the swap escape me.
Afterwards, my annoyance abated, and I alighted on the thought that the skipping rope was his, he could do with it as he pleased.
Signing Over Your Home to Your Children: A Gift is a Gift is a Gift
We come to the point of signing over your home to your children. This calls for fidelity to the language. A home is not tangible.
You can no more give away a home than you can buy air. Therefore, we talk here of your principal residence. We therefore talk of signing over your house to your children.
These are general observations, rather than advice. Nonetheless, here goes.
It’s your property, it’s your stuff. You can do what you want with it. You can give it to whomever you please – at any time. This, is an intrinsic principle of property.
The risks are huge.
They come in various guises.
They’re as huge as Wembley Stadium, so let’s look at a few.
1 Signing Over Your Home to Your Children: Giving it up
If you give up your house, that’s it. They could turf you out – they’d be well within their rights. The morality is one thing.
You and I can jump down and up all we like.
We could froth about morality, but you’ve no legal right to the property. End of.
2 Signing Over Your Home to Your Children: Others
If your children ran into any sort of money problem, their assets could be seized to pay their debts. The house, your by now former house would now one of their assets.
One rule of taking people to court is there’s little point suing someone who’s no money to pay the judgement, but now they have your former house, game on. It doesn’t matter, the house isn’t yours, not anymore.
3 Signing Over Your Home to Your Children: Capital Gains tax
A problem more for your children.
If your children do not use the property as their primary residence, they might have a liability to capital gains tax when they came to sell it.
4 Signing Over Your Home to Your Children: Care Fees
Many give their houses to their children with the aim of avoiding selling the house to pay residential care fees. This often a stratagem so faulty it sounds like a politician’s promise.
The local authority may, at the time, assess the value of your house to pay for the care fees. The claim would likely be founded on the principle of deliberate deprivation: that you deliberately deprived yourself of your assets with the object of escaping your liability to care fees.
There are several salesmen of infamy who’d tell you signing over your home to your children would help you avoid care fees.
They are cheats.
They’re not to be trusted or believed.
Want to Give Your House Away?
You want to give away your house. If you’ve somewhere else to live, there’s a right way to do it, I show.
However, if you’re contemplating signing over your house, the roof over your head, I’d say, go ahead if you don’t mind living in a tent.
Better though, is to speak to someone who has a lifetime’s experience of such matters. Speak to me, I’ll show you the proper way to protect your house from predators.
What to read next: lasting power of attorney