Could playing happy families at Christmas last all year?
Well over a third of people aged 65+ live alone and, while many may be happy to do so, for others it’s a time of loneliness and isolation
Given the emphasis on families celebrating together at Christmas-time, it can be the perfect opportunity to consider if sharing a home with the older generation would work for you.
It’s an option an increasing number of families are choosing - multi-generational living has seen an estimated 30% increase in the past decade. Before making any big decisions, Mike Wragg, an associate in the residential property team at Buckinghamshire law firm B P Collins LLP, has some words of advice.
“Pooling the family resources together to either buy one larger house or extend an existing property can help to save money and benefit everyone involved,” said Mike.
“However, there are important implications, so it’s important to take both legal and independent financial advice early on to avoid potential family disputes in the future.”
Presuming each generation owns their own property, Mike suggests there are usually three options to consider:
• Selling both homes and buying one larger property together
• Selling the parents’ home and using the money to build a ‘granny flat’ at their son or daughter’s home
• The adult child buys their parents a suitable property nearby
The biggest challenge, he says, is to realise that despite best laid plans, circumstances can change quite quickly.
“The younger couple may divorce, they might need to sell their house or move for work reasons, while from elderly parents’ perspective, they may need to liquidate some of their money to pay for care home or nursing fees,” said Mike.
“If things go wrong, depending on the circumstances, the parents could find themselves effectively homeless and with no equity of their own.”
Other considerations include inheritance tax implications and, if there are several children due to inherit from the estate, how and when they would eventually recoup their share of the money.
“Enjoying a family Christmas together can provide memories to cherish, but if you want those feelings to last all year, don’t rush into any hasty decisions without consulting expert advisers,” concluded Mike.
Contact Mike Wragg in the residential property team at B P Collins LLP on 01753 279021 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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