Local authorities are placed under an increasing demand to fund care at a time when we are living longer.
In 2013 in an article posted by the Guardian it suggests that "In the next two decades, the numbers of people aged 85 and over will more than double from 1.53 to 3.25 million. These people are much more substantial users of health and both formal and informal social care services."
Ideally, steps should be taken to protect inheritance, or make any gifts/disposals many years prior to reaching the stage of needing to go into a care home. However, for most of us, the issue does not arise until shortly before an elderly relative needs to go into a social care environment. By this point it is too late to contemplate disposing of assets, otherwise the potential steps the local authority can take could be severe.
The risk that families take when disposing of money and assets is that the local authority could pursue them for deliberate deprivation.
Whilst there is always the anomaly over whether the local authority can prove whether the disposal is deliberate, the fact that monies and assets are dissipated shorty before, or after an elderly relative has entered into care is powerfully persuasive.
Not only is there the possibility that the local authority will not pay for the care home fees once the threshold reaches £23,250, but also the local authority could choose to disregard any disposals made when looking at the merit threshold.
If this is something that is affecting you, please contact Sophie Samani on 0121 214 1215 to discuss further.
Families are facing a care funding lottery as new figures reveal wide variations in the lengths to which councils will go to stop people giving away assets in an attempt to make the state pay instead. Local authorities means-test residents of care homes to check if they should pay towards their costs. The cut off point is £23,250 – if you have assets above this figure you are expected to fund your own care. If your assets are worth less than £23,250 the council will help to meet the costs. Average nursing home costs reached £1,000 for “self-funders” earlier this year. The spiralling cost of care has created an incentive for families to give away property, investments and savings to bring their assets below the £23,250 limit.