Selling family home to repurchase/downsize to new home for spouse

Regional self-funded retirees: Husband recently moved in to full-time aged care in closest major city. Wife looking at selling regional family home and purchasing a new home in the city. How long can she hold sales proceeds in cash without affecting aged-care fee assessment before buying new home? Thanks for your help.

Hi there,

Gosh a lot is happening. This may be a question for Services Australia, or a Financial Advisor who Specialises in Aged Care. What we at agedcare101 understand is that while funds are tied up in a house, they are excluded from the income and assets test given the wife lives there. However if the house is sold, then that cash would need to be included in the income and assets and when the wife does buy another home to be near her husband in the major city, that house is no longer seen to be the ‘family home’ as the husband never lived there. We also believe that given that the husband and wife are a couple, the income and assets would only include half of the cash from the home for just the husband’s portion. We realise the cost of a Financial Advisor is expensive, but this decision could save or cost you a lot. We really encouraged you to seek guidance. When looking at Financial Advisors, make sure they do specialise in aged care as a standard Financial Advisor may not know the nuances of the aged care financial rules. If relying on guidance from Services Australia only, don’t rely on just what is said on the phone. Ask if that could be sent to you, or if they can send you a link of where it is on their official website.

We hope this helps,
The agedcare101 team.

Before my husband was offered a permanent room in a aged care facility i saw a financial advisor that was in with my accountant, but i was very uncomfortable with what he suggested. So then i made an appointment with an aged care specialist at Centrelink and she was very helpful, i took all our financial details and rate notice in with me and she worked out exactly what i would have to pay.
Late last year i sold the family farm to a family member and i bought another house straight after settlement day with most of the proceeds from the sale. When we had the farm only the house and 5 acres was exempt. With me buying the house using most of the proceeds from the sale of the farm my husband qualified for a part pension. I took all the sale details and updated financial details back to the aged care specialist.
I also asked the aged care specialist before i signed the contract if it made any difference if i bought the house in my name only, and she said it makes no difference as for Centrelink purposes we own 50% each regardless. So I’m living in my house that my husband has never lived in and the house is exempt and my husband gets a part pension.
The reason i bought the house solo instead of jointly was in case i die first and the house would then pass on to my husband, and he has advanced dementia, and kids have no EPOA over him, and i didn’t want to run the risk of the state trustees taking over.
You just need to be upfront with everything when it comes to centrelink.