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Care Fees Planning

Thanks to the improvements in medical science and general health and fitness, we are all living longer, resulting in more and more people requiring long term care. Indeed it has been estimated that in the not too distant future 3 out of 4 of us will be in this position, Who is going to pay for it? Despite all the intense media coverage, it seems clear that the government has no intention of funding the rapidly increasing cost of caring

What are the rules?

There has been a series of legislation and case law deciding the basis of care provision going back to the National Assistance Act 1948. This has culminated in the 'Charges for Residential Accommodation Guide' (CRAG) issued by the Department of Health for local authorities to follow.

Currently a Means Test Threshold (MTT) is applied to those applying for Local Authority (LA) funding. Both capital (including your home) and income are considered.

Income - Relevant income includes anything received from state, occupational and personal pensions. The one concession is a small weekly Personal Expense Allowance for items such as toiletries and newspapers.

Capital - Capital includes any property (including your home), investments etc between an upper and lower threshold currently 23,250 -14,250 for England. Once capital falls below the upper limit a certain amount of funding becomes available with full funding after capital has been depleted below the lower figure.

There are certain situations when a home may be disregarded the most important being if your spouse or dependant elderly relative is living there. But for the vast majority of people their home is assessable.

What is the solution?

Planning

Age and infirmity are there for everyone, and as we all know "prevention is better than cure". By facing the implications of old age now we can best equip ourselves and our families to protect our property. Nobody can be genuinely surprised if the day comes when they are facing Local Authority means testing. In life; if we know a problem is coming we can generally develop a strategy to navigate around it, it is the unexpected events that normally are the hardest to resolve.

There are many options available to families such as a Family Protection Trust or a Protective Property Trust Will.

The right option will depend on the individual family and estate, and requires expert and careful preparation. Nevertheless the choice is ours to do nothing, and cross our fingers that the government decides to pay for all long term care; or to anticipate the threat and take decisive action in advance.

If you have any concerns in this area please ask to speak to one of our consultants.