How to use your Will to protect your assets from care home fees
It is likely that at some point during our lifetimes we will need extra support to care for ourselves. This is something we can all be quite certain of.
However, what can often appear uncertain is how we are going to be able to afford our own care should we need it. Many people tend to not consider these financial implications until it becomes too late.
Care home fees can be very expensive, and should you own your own home or have savings it is likely that you will be required to pay these fees yourself. However, it is possible to protect your estate and assets from care home fees using your Will, but it can be a complex process and you will need legal assistance.
How much do care home fees cost?
On average the weekly cost of a nursing home is £888 within the UK, while a residential care home is £704 a week on average. This amount can quickly total up landing you with a monthly fee of £3,552 per month for nursing care or £2,816 per month for residential care.
These average costs can also differ depending on where you live within the UK. It is important to note that the cost of nursing care within a care home is more expensive than residential care as they provide more specialist care (such as dementia care).
How much of my money can I keep before having to pay for care?
The amount you can keep before having to pay for care highly depends on where you live within the UK.
England – If your estate/assets add up to £23,250 or more then you will be expected to pay for the full cost of your care home fees.
Wales – £24,000 for home care or £50,000 for a care home
Scotland – £28,000
Northern Ireland – £23,250
If you share you home with your partner, then you will need to consider their future care within this too.
As previously mentioned, it is possible to protect your estate and assets, you can do so through structured Trusts in your Will. This means that when you die your surviving spouse will be able to have access and benefit from your estate, but will not actually own any of the assets. Once it is time for your spouse to enter care, and is means tested, the assets within the trust should not be counted as part of their estate. Which means that it is likely they will not have to pay for their care in full.
To create a Trust in this way you will need the assistance of a specialist Will lawyer/solicitor who will be able to discuss all the options with you.
Additionally, to safeguard your home you may wish to look at changing the way your property is listed within your Will. Many couples choose to be ‘joint tenants’ of their home which means that should one of you pass away the property goes directly to the surviving spouse. However, this could mean that when your surviving spouse needs to enter care the whole property will be counted toward their estate, meaning that they will be responsible for paying for their care fees.
To avoid this, within your Will, you can change your home ownership to ‘tenants-in-common’ which means should you pass away your share of the property could go to your children or into a trust so that your surviving spouse can continue to live within your home for the rest of their lives and when they need to go into care, they can be assessed as owning only half of the property’s shares which means that they may be eligible for support toward their care fees. This then effectively protects your share of the property for the next generation.
When you are planning for the future by writing a Will or setting up a Trust, it’s important to seek specialist legal advice. At GL Law we offer a personal, bespoke service with advice tailored to your own specific circumstances.
Specialist Long-Term Care Solicitors
Our friendly team of care planning solicitors regularly assist individuals in navigating the systems and processes surrounding long-term care.
For advice about Wills, Trusts, Care Funding, or any aspect of long-term and elderly care, please contact our team of specialist care planning solicitors on 0117 906 9400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org