Finding it hard to care: the financial situation of care homes
Despite claims that the care system in the UK is in crisis by almost every newspaper every month, there are remarkably stringent rules and legislation put into place to ensure that everyone receives the medical and emotional care that they need as they get older, and are not able to support themselves.
However, this care comes at a cost and although many people are frustrated that their finances can be siphoned off at an old age away from their children and dependents, and towards a care home or nursing home, the situation remains (except for in limited circumstances) that if you have in excess of £23,250 of capital, then it is your responsibility to cover the costs of your care.
Some people explore the idea of signing over major assets such as their homes ,over to their children. This deliberate attempt to divert assets to avoid paying any care fees can in some cases lead to a complaint by the local authority of deliberate deprivation of assets.
Annex E of the Care and Support Statutory Guidance defines what local authorities consider to be deliberate deprivation: “Deprivation of assets means where a person has intentionally deprived or decreased their overall assets in order to reduce the amount they are charged towards their care. This means that they must have known that they needed care and support and have reduced their assets in order to reduce the contribution they are asked to make towards the cost of that care and support.”
As you can see from the definition, the emphasis on the previous knowledge of the individual that they would require care – and in full knowledge of the cost that that care would be to them, acted in a way to prevent that cost being paid by them.
The financial burden that care costs can place on an individual or on a family can have emotional as well as financial implications, and it can be frustrating when someone who has worked hard all of their lives now has to continue paying for something that, from their perspective, should be something provided by the state. Anyone who is truly unable to pay will, of course, receive the support regardless; it is the pinched middle that works hard to protect their earnings for the next generation without contravening the law that may feel that this is ‘unfair’.
Some questions that you may have and that we can help answer are:
- Will I get any help towards my fees?
- What is NHS Continuing Health Care funding?
- Are there any benefits I may be entitled to?
- How should my assets be valued?
- Should I update my will and how can I pass on assets to my family?
If you are concerned about how to financially support yourself as you grow older and may need care support, or if you are helping an elderly friend or family member with their finances, ensure that you get the best legal advice by getting in touch with our Family Office team .