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Would you sell your house & downsize to help your sibling?

(115 Posts)
MaryTheBookeeper Sun 13-Sep-20 20:29:06

This is the situation I'm in. I don't want to go into detail. They've done nothing wrong, whatsoever. You'll have to take my word for that. But they have nowhere to live & currently, no income. Although this will change in time. I'm considering selling my house to split the money & buy them their own small place they can call their own. This obviously puts me in a lesser position too as my house was my pension. I doubt few would do it. I'm not even sure I can, but I'm thinking about it. Would you?

MissAdventure Sun 13-Sep-20 20:31:11

Honestly? I don't think I would.

I would worry about all the "what ifs".

Grannyben Sun 13-Sep-20 20:32:23

Could your sibling come and live with you until they get on their feet?

EllanVannin Sun 13-Sep-20 20:32:38

I did.

tanith Sun 13-Sep-20 20:32:39

I wouldn’t if it’s going to put me in a lesser position.

MaryTheBookeeper Sun 13-Sep-20 20:43:44

We live at opposite ends of the country.

MaryTheBookeeper Sun 13-Sep-20 20:45:32

Could you bear to see your sibling in agony & having a terrible time without a home to call their own?

MaryTheBookeeper Sun 13-Sep-20 20:46:04

I hurt for them.

Chewbacca Sun 13-Sep-20 20:46:48


Grannyben Sun 13-Sep-20 21:00:36

I was within 48 hours of being homeless and, like your sibling, I bad done nothing wrong whatsoever.
Thankfully, the local authority stepped in and house me. Oh, it was such a rough area and under any other circumstances I would have been appalled. It turned out the neighbours were absolutely lovely to me and I absolutely loved living there.
Could your sibling contact their local authority?

sodapop Sun 13-Sep-20 21:37:01

I would think long and hard before committing to this course of action MarytheBookeeper are you sure all other avenues have been explored and that you cannot just help out in the short term. It's a big step to take and I'm not sure I could do it.
It's greatly to your credit that you are even thinking of this,

Charleygirl5 Sun 13-Sep-20 21:47:50

Absolutely definitely not. I am afraid you have to think about your future.

crazyH Sun 13-Sep-20 21:49:15

You are a better sibling than I ever would be !
However, Charity begins at home. First, make sure you are financially secure. Dont give up the roof over your head.
If your sibling is in the UK, she/he will be entitled to Incone Support, Housing Benefit etc. Certainly help her in the short term, such as deposit for rental accommodation. Landlords do expect a substantial deposit .
Good luck to your sibling and yourself ...

Davidhs Sun 13-Sep-20 21:56:15

Do not do this, keep your own security, if your family have no place of their own it’s up to social services to sort out accommodation.
Whatever has gone wrong it is serious and money may well make it worse.

Grandmafrench Sun 13-Sep-20 22:15:12

I think you may be considering a plan which both parties may live to regret and might even affect your future relationship. Also, since you say that your sibling has no home and no income, this is something which does require some urgent action. Grannyben's suggestion then seems an excellent one and should stop you worrying. Without a home or job/s, why should it matter where your sibling is urgently housed, unless there are school children involved perhaps? You are obviously well placed to help, but you should not risk putting yourself in a worse position by selling up just because the comfort and security of someone you care for has taken a downward turn. You say that the current situation "will change in time". Then why not give it some time, suggest a move to live with you whilst all options are considered, the pressure is then off and much better solutions can be considered. It's possible that another job, and some accommodation in whatever part of the country is decided may be easier to come by than you think. Meanwhile you will be giving your sibling some breathing space, but not throwing your own life into disarray or saying goodbye to your pension. If this was your child, I could more easily understand your thinking in this way and wanting to offer a leg up, but even though your sibling might need some help at the moment, he/she is probably well able to make life decisions in normal circumstances - and without your involvement. Don't stress about it : if your offer of accommodation is unwelcome, then housing will have to be sought through the Local Authority as has been suggested.

M0nica Sun 13-Sep-20 22:18:32

Let us say you go with your plan. The fact that you buy your sibling somewhere to live does not mean that they have to own the property. You could own the house and they could live in it until such time they could stand on their own two feet and then they could pay you rent. You would thus still own all your current assets.

Having said that, with the range of benefits available to help the homeless and penniless, I cannot see why you should need to be responsible for their housing.

Niobe Sun 13-Sep-20 22:24:14

If you give this money to your sibling then you will not get pension credit if you need it when you retire. If you need to go into care in the future the local authority may demand the money back to pay for your care. Please do nothing before taking expert financial advice.

BlueBelle Sun 13-Sep-20 22:42:46

Why not invite them to live with you
You obviously feel greatly for this sibling so perhaps that would be wisest whist they get back in their feet or you could both be out on the street

Smileless2012 Sun 13-Sep-20 22:44:47

It isn't something I would do. Bluebell's suggestion is well worth considering.

Hithere Sun 13-Sep-20 22:46:51

This plan has lots of holes.

Selling your home will take some time so it is not going to fix them being homeless and without income right now.
Buying a place for them to live will also take time.

What would be the plan for them in the meantime? Where are they going to live? When are they going to have income again?

There have to be other solutions than putting your financial future in danger.
What you suggest seems very drastic and last resource.

What they have been doing to fix their situation?

"Could you bear to see your sibling in agony & having a terrible time without a home to call their own?"
Are you doing this for you, to alleviate your pain, or for them?

cornergran Sun 13-Sep-20 23:07:32

If you’re ready to downsize and move and could then live comfortably then MOnica’s suggestion offers you some safety. There would be increased stamp duty to buy the home your sibling would live in and potentially tax implications when/if it’s sold but the house would be yours. A proper tenancy agreement would also be sensible. Why not seek advice? A telephone call with the CAB should be possible, check out other options on their behalf, think very carefully before doing anything. If you offer to share your home or buy one for your sibling to live in do take care over a clear and understood agreement. People here are concerned for you and your future, please don’t leave your own security out of your thinking.

quizqueen Sun 13-Sep-20 23:20:02

It could take 6 months or more to sell and then buy 2 new places so where are they going to live 'in agony' in the meantime. Their situation could change by then too. Invite them to stay with you for a few months while they sort themselves out, as others have suggested, or at least purchase a property in your name for them. If people can't afford to buy themselves then they have to be content with renting, surely.

Doodledog Sun 13-Sep-20 23:20:16

I know you say you don’t want to talk about the situation, but can you say whether or not you feel in any way responsible for it?

I ask because I know of someone who is likely to be homeless soon because they have been looking after an elderly relative who has recently gone into care and us unlikely to live much longer. The relative has left the house where my friend has been living with them jointly to my friend and their sibling, and it is unlikely that there will be enough in my friend’s share to buy somewhere to live.

The sibling has done nothing to help the relative, but the will was written before my friend gave up work to act as carer, and can’t be changed now that the relative has lost mental capacity. It’s a tricky situation, and in circumstances like those, if I were the sibling I like to think that I would feel responsible for my friend’s possible homelessness and would not insist on my share of the inheritance, but might ask for the house to be left to my children on my friend’s death.

I hope that makes sense, as I have tried not to give enough detail to make anyone identifiable.

If you are not in similar circumstances. Mary, and your own sibling’s situation is entirely independent of you, then I think I would try to help them without jeopardising my own retirement. When you are retired it can be very difficult to change your circumstances and add to your income, so security becomes more important than when you are earning (or I found this to be so anyway).

Could you help them with a deposit so that they can rent somewhere until their circumstances change, or could they take out a loan on the strength of the impending change in their situation?

MaryTheBookeeper Mon 14-Sep-20 05:18:00

I cannot help with a deposit because I physically don't have it & they have no income to get a loan against. My sibling gave up their career for the last 9yrs to act as a fulltime carer whilst our relative in poor health had many operations. A will was made that they would inherit the bungalow to continue living in -in return for my sibling using their life savings to support the person they were caring for. Unfortunately, said relative was carted off to prison a few months ago & will likely die there before too long due to ill health. It has recently come out the bungalow was actually signed over to someone else. Because of covid there is no work right no in my sibling's field, they've lost their home & life savings. The fallout of this is horrific.

BlueBelle Mon 14-Sep-20 06:02:47

This is getting very dramatic mary
Why did your sibling have to use their life savings to support this person ? If this person owned their own home why couldn’t they ‘keep’ themself financially
If the house owner has now been put in prison why can’t your sibling carry on living in the house at least ‘for now’ ?
Because of covid there is no work right now in my siblings field unfortunately many people have had to diversify and get something temporary that’s not in their field Grab a supermarket job or better still a ‘live in’ carers job, that would solve two problems at one go
I don’t I understand why your sibling can’t live with you temporarily