Care Home Fees | Looking to the Future
We all have to face the fact that there may come a time in our lives where we might need to rely on the services of a care home. Despite how common this is, there is a lot of fear that surrounds care home fees and how they are funded. The truth is, we work hard all our lives, create a home and save hard so that we have something to pass on to future generations but, when we need care in our later years, all of that can be taken away from us. This means that your estate and the inheritance that would pass to your children can be reduced to almost nothing.
If you have assets that are worth more than £23,250, then you are going to need to pay for any fees for permanent residential care.
Should you own assets that are between £14,250 and a £23,250 then your local authority may choose to contribute something towards the cost of your care. Should your estate be less than £14,250 then your income, including benefits and pensions, will be utilised to cover the cost. However, you will be left with a weekly Personal Expenses Allowance of £24.90.
When it comes to means-testing financial assessments, local authorities can be very subjective. This will mean that it will depend on your circumstances as opposed to them using the same rule for all.
Will You Need to Sell Your Home?
If you find that you have to move into a care home then there are some guidelines or criteria that will determine whether your homes value will be taken into account or whether it will be disregarded. This will include whether any of the following still 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
Should you be part of joint ownership of a property but the other person does not reside in it, then the local authority could consider your share of the property when carrying out means-testing.
However, if you do live in the property on your own and you are the sole owner with no intentions of selling it, then you can apply for deferred payment of care fees to your local authority. This is not guaranteed to be granted however.
The Care You Need
Depending on the care you need, you might be able to access funding under the NHS Continuing Healthcare, however, this can become a challenge when the illness is mental and not physical as it relates to nursing care only.
What this means is that an individual who suffers from dementia might need care because they have social requirements as opposed to health needs. This can make it challenging for them to qualify for the funding. If they have ongoing health needs that are physical or mental then NHS Continuing Healthcare might be available. NHS Funded Care is capped at £165.56 per week.
If you know that you have assets over and above the threshold then you might be tempted to consider transferring them into a trust or gifting assets throughout your lifetime.
It is important to understand that the local authority will assess your intentions when you make a transaction. Therefore, if you are unwell and need care and then you decide to move your property into a trust then the local authority would consider this as a deprivation of assets. This would then give them the right to treat you as though you are still in possession of that asset.
It is therefore vitally important that you obtain full advice before carrying out any lifetime planning.