The older we get the more likely we are to suffer an affliction that means we will need ongoing care. With the average age of society increasing and the cost of care getting greater is there anything that can be done to protect the home from going to pay for care?
Its a sad reality now that more and more people are falling into the trap of having to spend their life savings and home equity on their ongoing care at the end of their lives. The average cost of a weeks care in a residential home is now over £1000 so it doesn’t take long before you can can lose significant wealth to pay for nursing. And with the Government planning on making our homes even more vulnerable many people are rightly very concerned.
But the good news is that there are things that can be done to help and even prevent the family home being taken to pay for care.
How do you own your Property
The first stage of any planning for care should start with a good look at what you own and where you would like it to pass. How you own your property could be a decisive factor in determining how vulnerable (or not) it is when it comes to a care assessment. Beware though you cannot simply give your home away to avoid it being taken to pay for care. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot make sensible decisions for reasons other than care fees which could mean your home is protected from being assessed as an asset to be taken into account.
Make sure you have a decent and up to date Will
All sensible estate planning should start with a well written and properly thought out will. If you know exactly what you have and how you would it like it to pass then it is much easier to put a plan in place that fulfils that objective. Should you die without a Will the process of administering your estate is far more complicated. You can also end up with expensive and unnecessary Inheritance Tax bills.
Lasting Powers of Attorney are essential
These are vital if you wish to keep the costs of care down to a minimum. There are two documents which appoint those who you wish to look after you. Without them its the courts and social services that will make important decisions regarding your care and finances. Powers of Attorney documents have to be drawn up whilst you still have capacity to do them. Should you lose capacity your loved ones would need to go to court to get permission to look after you. Your bank accounts (including joint ones) are frozen whilst this process is going on.
This all sounds horrendous, what do I do?
Really the only way for this situation to happen is if you haven’t planned for it. Good documents which protect as much as you can from being taken whilst making sure that the right people are appointed to look after you should not be expensive or complicated.
The first step is simply to book a meeting to discuss your own situation.