Helen Hill LL.B (Hons.) FCILEx TEP
Licensed Conveyancer and Probate Practitioner | Commissioner for Oaths | Chartered Legal Executive
Long Term Care Fees
A recent article in The Times summarised this issue as follows:
“Thousands of homes are being sold from under the feet of elderly people so that local councils do not have to pay for their care home fees, figures reveal.
Although the Government did promise to cap care fees at £72,000 by 2016, anyone with assets of more than £23,250 is expected to pay for themselves. This cap has now been moved back until 2020. Promises made during the recent election campaign to set a £100,000 cap have also been dropped.
It means that between 30,000 and 40,000 people each year are forced to sell their family homes, or their families have to agree to surrender them to their local council when their relative dies.
NFU Mutual, the insurance company, obtained the figures through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. They revealed how, in the past five years, local authorities have fought legal battles to obtain a share of more than 3,000 people’s homes.”
If a care home resident fails to pay his or her fees, the Council can take out a legal charge on their home to cover the costs. Even if the pensioner has handed the property over to their children, the bills must continue to be paid for as long as the Council maintains the charge. More than 15,000 houses had a charge put on them between 2009 and 2014 by the 72 councils questioned in the FOI investigation.
The number has been rising, with 2,816 homes targeted between 2009-10 and 3,109 in 2013-14. In that time, councils’ income from care home residents has risen by 18 per cent.
If an elderly person remains in their own home, a charge is put on it for a deferred payment, where the Council can sell the property and use the proceeds after the person has died.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said, “Social care is usually needed at a time of crisis when someone is often very unwell and adjusting to major life changes.
It is also a moment when people are struggling to understand a very complicated system and what they will be expected to pay for and what help they will get. We know that every day, thousands of families face agonising decisions about care for their loved one, often finding themselves in the middle of a perfect storm, where dwindling savings are just not enough to meet rocketing care costs.
The Government needs to help people understand, ideally long before they actually need care, how the system will work and what they will actually have to pay, and ensure a care system is in place that is fit for today’s older people and future generations.”
The Planning Crowd Ltd can help clients understand the financial implications of Care Fees, and help them to fully understand the position of their local authority.
There are many companies that claim to mitigate 100% of care home fees through Lifetime Trusts planning but, under the ‘Care Act 2014’ and associated Regulations, if you are deliberately depriving yourself of assets for such reasons as avoiding care fees, your Trust will be overturned. We will not make wild
claims, but instead ensure you receive comprehensive and accurate advice from our fully qualified staff who include Trust and Estate Practitioners (qualified through the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and Chartered Legal Executives.