A day rarely seems to go by without warnings about the UK’s care crisis hitting the headlines.
With council budgets under increasing pressure and promised Government reforms a way off, protecting your assets against the high cost of care is a subject that’s understandably concerning for many older people.
Graham Fuller, a Senior Associate in our Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning team, explains some positive steps you can take to manage your financial future:
Analysis released by the Health Foundation revealed earlier this year that public spending on care for the elderly and disabled is much less for people in England than it is in Scotland and Wales.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services says the care system is “fragile and failing” and that despite £22.5bn being spent on services for older people and younger adults with disabilities, it’s not enough and cuts will have to be made.
The Centre for Policy Studies also called for wealthier homeowners to voluntarily make a £30,000 contribution to their care in a proposal that critics said still wouldn’t address the £7bn shortfall.
With a Government Green Paper on health and social reforms more than two years behind schedule, now, more than ever, it’s important that people take control over planning for their future.
A starting point is to have the right type of will in place because without advance planning, your assets may be used to pay for your care instead of passing to your loved ones.
Couples are in a unique position to protect their assets from care fees by making an asset protection will that could shelter half your assets from being used to fund health or social care.
Whilst you can gift money during your lifetime, you can’t do it with the intention of avoiding having to pay for care. Any lifetime gift of assets is subject to the Deprivation of Capital rules which means that transactions could be set aside if you’ve been deemed to have deliberately reduced your assets to avoid paying your share.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to individuals and their care planning. The most important thing is getting the right advice before you need it.
Graham deals with a broad range of matters including wills, powers of attorney, care fees, tax planning and probate. He is a full member of the Society of Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly and is currently studying to become a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate solicitors.