Fair Deal: What to do when payment falls due and transferring/leasing the farm

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Theresa Murphy

Our solicitor Theresa Murphy answers your questions about Fair Deal.

Q When will I have to pay the 22.5pc of the value of the home/farm to the state?

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A The Nursing Home Support Scheme is accompanied by the option to partake of the Nursing Home Loan (Ancillary State Support) which effectively defers the payment of the contribution to be paid at a later date. This could be, for example, at the time of your second parent's death.

It's designed to ensure that no one needs to sell their family home/farm immediately to pay for care costs. The 7.5pc contribution based on assets like land and property may be deferred and collected at a later date.

When a family receives some warning of the future need for residential care, it is important to regularly assess the situation as an application for the Nursing Home Support Scheme can take four-six weeks and longer in some cases. Time is also required for the preparation of the details of the financial income and assets of the applicant.

Q I transferred my farm three years ago - will this be counted as part of my means?

A Yes. If you make an application for the Fair Deal Scheme, because your farm has been transferred during the previous five years from the date of application, it will be included as part of your means in the overall financial assessment. However, the three-year cap can be applied where the person to whom the asset was transferred is a family successor of the person receiving care services and he or she must continue to have ownership of the relevant asset.

Q Can the family farm be leased during the six-year period after the person requires care enters a nursing home and still benefit from the three-year cap?

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A It appears from the heads of the bill that the farm cannot be leased during this time as the proposal requires the successor to apply, on a consistent and regular basis, a substantial part of his or her working day to the farming of the farm or carrying on of the relevant business. It is unlikely therefore, that by leasing the farm, the successor would be in a position to provide a reassurance that this is the case.

Theresa Murphy is a barrister based in Ardrahan, Co Galway

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