Planning for care fees
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Knowing your rights
The first step in the planning process is to be become aware of your rights and entitlement to benefits. The rules are complicated and few people feel that they get the support they need from the various state agencies. There is a lot of mis-information available and many professionals engaged in the process lack the necessary understanding of the overall system. This is perhaps not surprising when you consider that the current benefit system is so fragmented with relevant benefit entitlements being administered by each of the NHS, local authorities, DWP or the Jobcentres (or indeed a combination of these). Some of these benefits are means tested and others aren’t. Securing non-means tested benefits can make a marked difference to your quality of life.
We have many years of experience in dealing with the system and can guide you through the various complexities to ensure you understand how much, or how little, support will be available from the state in due course.
Having an attorney
Having a Power of Attorney is an essential long term planning document and having the appropriate power(s) in place is an important starting point. When considering residential care home fees you need to accept that the likely reason for the move into care is that you have become infirm and may also have a mental capacity impairment perhaps through dementia or stroke. Without a suitably experienced attorney fighting your corner you may find it difficult to influence your future care and management of your finance.
Maximising the value of your assets
Appropriate legal and financial advice is essential to ensure you are able to support your care fees for the longest possible period. We work closely with financial advisers to ensure that your assets are structured correctly and that your financial strategy is sufficiently robust. It’s important to remember that living on means tested assistance is an unpleasant situation to be in, the local authority takes the vast majority of your income leaving you with only a modest expenditure allowance.
A professionally drafted Will
You need to plan carefully if you are looking to make provision for a beneficiary who is already in care or is likely to need residential care after your death. In such cases a direct gift to the benficiary may be inappropriate. It could well be that they actually receive negligible benefit as your legacy may simply replace state funding which would otherwise have been available. That’s not to say that you should not leave them a legacy, indeed you may have a duty to do so, but you may wish to consider the use of a trust to help protect the value of the legacy for your beneficiary. Interests in trusts are currently ignored from some of the key benefit calculations and the availability of an exempt fund of this nature can make a marked difference in the beneficiaries quality of life.