It is worth considering using trusts to protect family property. Two scenarios where this may be appropriate are in the case of a second marriage when you already have children, or to protect your share of your property from potential care fees for your spouse.
Quite often nowadays people re-marry but each have children from a previous relationship. The couple’s money is pooled to buy a new home with the intention that they will live in the property together. When the first of them dies the survivor will continue to live there, but ultimately the value of the property is to be shared between their own children after the death of the survivor.
In this situation, I would suggest you consider holding your new home as tenants in common. This means that you each own a separate share which you can leave under your will.
The next step is to include an “interest in possession trust” (or “life interest trust”) in your will. You leave your half share of your home to your executors, to hold it on trust for your spouse who can live there until he or she dies. Your spouse will have the responsibility for maintaining and insuring the property. You can also include provision to allow your trustees to sell your half of the existing property together with your spouse and to invest the proceeds in another property. If this is a smaller property then it results in the release of extra cash from the survivor’s share if it is needed. Any surplus funds from your own share of the property can be invested to provide an extra income for your spouse.
If your spouse has to go into care, then obviously they will need to fund their care from their own assets, but your half of the property will remain in the trust. Any income from your share will go to support your spouse, but the capital representing your half share of the property will be protected and will ultimately go to your children when he or she dies.