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The effect of rising care home fees

View profile for Katie Mayren
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Statistics show an increase in the number of injuries in care homes

There is no getting away from the care home fee fear currently sweeping the nation. You work hard for your entire life to own a beautiful home and have some money in the bank, to then have it wiped out due to having to fund your required care later in life. Your children’s inheritance can be dwindled down in such a short space of time once you find yourself needing to reside in a care home.

If your assets are significantly more than £23,250 it is likely that you will have to pay for your own care home fees. What constitutes significantly more than will be decided by your local council on a case by case basis.

If your assets are between £14,250 and £23,250, your local authority may contribute something towards your care fees. If your estate is less than £14,250 your income will be used to fund your care. However you should always be left with an amount no less than what is known as the standard personal expenses allowance.

It is important to remember that a local authority is subjective when carrying out their means testing financial assessments. It will always depend on your personal circumstances at that time rather than a one rule fits all.

Will my house have to be sold?

Should you need to move into a care home, the value of your home will not be taken into account if any of the following live in the property:

  1. A husband, wife or civil partner
  2. A close relative over the age of 60
  3. A dependent child
  4. A relative who is disabled or incapacitated

If you own a property jointly with someone else but they do not live in it, the local authority could take the value of your particular share into account when means testing.

If you live alone and the property is in your sole name and you do not wish to sell it, you could apply to your local council for a deferred payment of care fees.  

The type of care required

You may be eligible for funding under the NHS Continuing Healthcare depending on why you need care. The difficulty is when the illness is mental rather than physical.

For example, if an individual with dementia requires care due to having social requirements rather than health needs it can be difficult for them to qualify for funding. They may be able to qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare if it can be assessed that they have ongoing health needs which can be physical or mental.

What can I do to protect my assets?

You may consider transferring your property into trust, gifting assets in your lifetime or making bespoke Wills containing a trust in order to attempt to mitigate care home fees.

However it is important to note that a local authority will look at your intentions at the time of the transaction. For example, if care needs were imminent or you were unwell and at that point you decided to transfer your property into a trust, and then three months later you had to move into a care home it is likely that the local authority would see this as deprivation of assets. They then have the option of treating you as if you still owned that particular asset.

Therefore it is very important to get the right advice for you before taking any significant steps in attempting to protect your hard earned assets.

For more information on how we can provide the advice and guidance you need in planning for the future please contact our team on 0175 321 6399.

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