Seek advice on care costs
When it comes to Care Home fees, unfortunately there is no ‘magic bullet’. But taking advice from a lawyer, ideally a member of Solicitors for the Elderly or the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners, may help.
Moving house can be very stressful, but much more so when you have to move to a care home with nursing home fees averaging some £750 a week. Most people know they are going to have to pay something, but not sure how much, and sadly the thresholds are very low.
Currently, you have to pay for your care if you have more than £23,250. Below this you will be means tested and may have to contribute. After 12 weeks your home will also be included as capital if you move into care for the long term. Once your savings fall below £14,250.00 only income is means tested.
The proposed cap in care home fees has been postponed and is not due to come in until 2020. The theory is that even those who can afford to pay will not need to once they have spent more than £72,000 on their care.
However, this does not mean the Local Authority will pay once you have shelled out £72,000. First you may have been paying a larger weekly sum than the Local Authority would have agreed to fund. Therefore it’s the local authority figure you have to work to and not what you have actually paid.
Next, the cap only refers to care costs and not board and lodging which it is thought the Government will set at £12,000 a year. So you may be paying the national average of £750 a week but deduct from this the difference the Council will not pay for, and the cost of your board and lodging and it’s going to take a whole lot longer to reach that cap of £72,000.
Then, when you reach the cap, the state will only pay what the Local Authority rate may be leaving you to make up the difference. Sadly the average stay in a care home is some two and half years, so most self-funding residents will not see the benefit.
Remember, just giving away your money is not necessarily the answer. It may be held to be an intentional deprivation of assets, and the Local Authority will deem that you still have those funds and treat it as notional capital. Also, be wary of schemes that require you to transfer your assets into a trust as this too may be seen to be as intentional deprivation.
For a fuller discussion on the subject please telephone Paul Wilks on (01983) 614657 or call in to see him for an appointment at 3 Garfield Road, Ryde.
Paul Wilks & Co Ltd, Specialist property lawyers,
3 Garfield Road, Ryde, PO33 2PS