SOLVING PERSONAL LEGAL MATTERS
Your local authority social services are responsible for identifying the needs of the person going into care. Funding is only available where a need has been identified. If someone chooses to go into care because it is more convenient but not a necessity, then it would have to be on the basis that they can fund the care themselves.
Your local authority will carry out a care needs assessment which includes a financial assessment, called a means test. The means test looks at your income, which is any money received on a regular basis such as pensions, benefits, and also capital which will include any savings, shares, investments and potentially the value of the person's home.
The means test will assess whether you can afford to pay for your own care and whether you're eligible for financial help from the local authority.
In terms of income, each person is currently entitled to keep a personal allowance of £24.90 per week. The local authority will have details of what income is fully included and what income is partly disregarded. Details of the criteria are contained in CRAG - Charging for Residential Accommodation guide, available online or from your local authority.
In relation to capital the UK Government set the capital thresholds. Currently if you have capital above £23,250, you pay all your care fees. If you have capital below £14,250 you will be fully funded, subject to your income. If you have a capital balance falling in between the two thresholds you will have a contribution to pay towards your care. For every £250 you have over the £14,250 you will be deemed to have an extra £1 of income.
Certain types of capital may be disregarded such as money in a personal injury trust, or the surrender value of a life insurance policy or annuity.
With regards to the family home, the property value will not be included for the first twelve weeks stay in care. After twelve weeks it will not be included if you have living at your home:
The Local Authority can choose to exclude the property if the person's carer is living at the property.
It is also possible to enter into a 'Deferred Payment Agreement'. This generally means the fees are calculated, records will be kept but payment is put off until a later agreed date such as the death of the person in care.
It may also be useful to you to see one of our Independent Financial Advisors. They can advise on how best to hold or invest capital, to either maximise income or to invest it so that it may be disregarded as available capital. It is important to remember that whatever you do will be subject to the Deprivation of Assets rules.
When the local authority carry out a financial assessment to see if you should be contributing towards the cost of your care, there are strict rules regarding "Deprivation of Assets" where your objective is to obtain assistance with care fees.
If the local authority believes you have given your assets away to avoid the payment of care fees, they may decide that you have deprived yourself of assets and calculate your ability to pay as if you still owned them.
Generally, it is the motive and intention behind making the gift that is the important factor. There is no time period after which it can be said that the gift is likely to be successful. If the gift took place at a time when a person is fit and healthy and could not have foreseen the need for a move to nursing or residential care, then it is more likely that the gift will be successful. However, there are no guarantees.
Partner and Trust and Estate Practitioner, Elderly Client Services
Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts
01772 220 022