If you need to go into a care home, the local authority is likely to arrange this – but it is unlikely to be free. Depending on your own financial situation, you may not have to pay the full amount, but you will probably have to make a contribution.
Cost of care
You are responsible for the full cost of care if your capital is assessed at being over £23,250. This includes property, land and things such as stocks, shares and premium bonds. The value of the home may not be counted at all if someone of relevance still lives in it. This includes:
- a partner or former partner, unless estranged
- an estranged or divorced partner if they are a lone parent
- a relative over 60 years old
- a child who is under 18
- a disabled relative
If your home is included in your capital assessment, care home charges may be deferred until it has been sold, which may be when you die. Also, if you move into a care home and leave your home vacant, you should receive a full refund of council tax.
If your capital value falls below £23,250 whilst you are in care, the local authority will help towards costs. Based on your needs, the local authority may move you into a less expensive home if the one you are in charges more than it usually pays – unless someone can pay top up charges to keep you in a home that you like. (Note that top up payments cannot be made out of capital below £23,250). If your capital is less than £14,250, you will get maximum support, although you will have to contribute your income, less £24.90 per week for personal expenses. If capital is between £14,250 and £23.250, you will have to pay a further £1 for every £250 above £14,250.
Certain allowances, such as attendance allowance and war widows’ pensions are not included in any means test.
The care cost cap
The government is currently considering capping the amount people pay for care at £72,000, but this is only the cost of the care itself, it does not include board and lodgings. A proposal to raise the existing means-tested threshold, above which people must pay for their own care, to £100,000, from £23,500, is also being considered.
How to protect your family assets from care costs
Taking careful advice about financial and future planning can help to protect your assets. For example, make sure that a power of attorney is in place so that if the need comes, your attorneys can act straight away, rather than having to apply to the Court of Protection, which will certainly slow things down. Also, if you make any gifts during your lifetime, make sure that they comply with the rules, so they aren’t disregarded from the estate after death. We can also advise on leaving your assets in trust. And … don’t forget to make a will so everyone knows what is expected when you die.
Come along to our free seminar to find out more about protecting your assets. Contact us now to book a place.