With an average cost of nursing care in the South East being over £45,400pa (£874pw) and residential care being over £33,300pa (£641pw) (Source: Laing and Buisson, Care of Elderly People 2013-14), wealth can be depleted very quickly if you do not get the right advice. As many as one in four people run out of money (Source: LGIU Independent Ageing Report 2013) and go back to relying on the state for support, which may mean a downgrading of accommodation or a move to a care home that you would not normally choose.
By getting advice from a qualified professional adviser, you are able to access a support network that you may not even realise is there and financial products that can help the protection of assets when a loved one goes into care. We advise in this market due to personal experience and can help you find your way through the maze from getting the right assessments and benefits, to finding and funding care.
Usually the need for planning is urgent – due to an unplanned hospital stay, death or illness of a carer, or even a problem at home. The sooner you can get advice, the better and more effective the advice can be. This is because the Care System is quite complex and if the right assessment is not carried out, or the wrong legal papers are in place, the cost in time and money could be huge.
We have outlined below some of the things you need to be aware of, and can help in all these areas if required.
You should be aware of, and have copies of, all assessments by the local authority and NHS, whether health or financial. You will need to ensure all state benefits are being claimed as soon as possible as they only start from date of claim, not date of eligibility. Unfortunately, due to staff shortages in local authorities, this advice and help is not always available or as comprehensive as you may require.
To be able to deal with the finances and the NHS, you may need to have Powers of Attorney in place and registered – if they are not in place, you may need to apply for Deputyship to the Court of Protection. We have properly qualified solicitors who work with us to ensure this is done in the most efficient way possible.
You need to ensure assets are protected as much as they can be, by approved methods. Gifting monies or assets improperly could be seen as ‘deliberate deprivation’ by the local authority and they can claim it back through the courts.
The value of the home should not be taken into account if a surviving spouse or partner lives there, or another relative aged 60 or over, eg a daughter, or sister is living there as a carer. The home can also be used to release capital to pay for care at home through the local authority or equity release.
Usually forgotten is a spouse or financial dependant as if the state have to fund the care, they will take most of the income of the person in care which may leave a spouse/financial dependant at home with little or no money.
There are products available that can pay for care in a tax free way which will help protect other assets for the future. There is a cash management service which can offer better interest rates than you may be getting, as well as products that can save inheritance tax for the future.
Financing care could be one of the largest financial decisions that you have to make – so we strongly recommend you take advice.
We offer a bespoke service to clients and their families who are facing the prospect of looking for and entering into the care system, whether it is requiring care at home, or placement in a care/nursing-home, providing a wide remit of services beyond long term care incorporating all aspects of later life planning.
We concentrate on giving individual advice to the individual person, providing a personal plan which meets their own circumstances. We may be the experts in care funding, but the clients are the expert on their needs. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and everyone’s circumstances differ in the amount and type of benefits they are entitled to, the type of care they need and the funding options available to them. We are therefore careful to offer a bespoke service, avoiding technical jargon, giving time to decide on the options available. We do not walk away from clients after the initial advice, we offer an on-going service throughout life if required, to ensure the advice we give is valid not only now but also in the future as circumstances change.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate some advice around care fees planning such as care assessments, types of care available and State Benefits advice. We will be happy to confirm which areas are regulated and which ones are unregulated on request.
For a no obligation discussion about planning for care or to arrange a free consultation, please call us on 01403 888490 or email us at email@example.com to arrange a free no obligation discussion to see if we can help.