Care home fee reforms – or is the wool being pulled over your eyes?

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Planning long term care and who pays for it has become an issue for national debate following the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s, release of the governments planned reforms.

In a nutshell, the present situation is that if a person enters into residential care and has assets over £23,250.00 then they will be classed as self-funding. There is a belief within the general population that the local authority will either sell your house for you or “force” you to sell your house. Please can I dispel this myth here and now! Even if you enter into residential care, the only person with the authority to sell your house is you or an Attorney appointed by you or a Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection.

The local authority may recommend or suggest to you (your Attorney or your Deputy) that you sell your property in order to realise the capital and therefore help pay your care home bill but they can’t make you do anything. If you continue to refuse to sell your home and your bill for the cost of your care remains unpaid, then under the current rules, the local authority may register a charge against your property. This will act in a similar way to a mortgage and when the house is eventually sold, the told charge registered by the local authority (plus interest) will be paid in settlement of your outstanding bill.

The government’s plans to offer elderly people a loan to cover the cost of their care which can be paid off on death seem no different to the present situation. The only difference I can see is the administrative costs in arranging the loan as opposed to registering a charge and interest rates.

Other planned reforms include (1) an increase in the threshold at which point you move from the completely self funding regime to a contributions based assessment and (2) a cap on how much anyone would pay for the cost of their care.

The government had previously dallied with a cap of £35,000.00 but in the latest revisions by the government, this has increased to £100,000.00 which many say makes a mockery of any cap and becomes of little worth.

If younger people knew that they would be responsible for a capped sum towards the cost of care, would this encourage people to take out insurance or other financial product which would cover the cost of the care and if so, how soon will it be until we are in the midst of the next mis-selling scam?

And my final point, whether the self funding threshold is increased or fees are capped it still wouldn’t prevent the perceived discrimination in which people who have worked hard all there life and saved, pay for the cost of their care whilst others, who have maybe recklessly spent their money, receive similar care at no cost to themselves.

For care home fees advice or an initial consultation please call Kirsten Bradley, a Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts Solicitor at Forbes Solicitors on freephone 0800 975 2463 or contact our Solicitors online or read about our other Elderly client services.  

 

This entry was posted in Wills, Tax, Trusts and Probate.

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