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PROTECT YOUR HOME

How Can I Protect my Home for my Loved Ones?

 

Care Fees – The Facts


Although we would all hope to grow old in the comfort of our own home, the reality is that some of us will need to go into a Care Home later in life. The question therefore is, what are the financial consequences for us and our families? In the Midlandsregion, care costs in recent years have risen on average to £1500 per week. With the average stay in a care home now being about 3-4 years, after this time the total bill for your family could be well over £300,000!!


Furthermore, the latest data from the Land registry reveals that the average house price in the West Midlands is currently £284,950 (November 2023). It’s a shocking situation, especially considering those most commonly affected will be the hard-working, the tax-paying, stamp paying working people. As it stands, anyone with property or capital worth £23,250 or more has to pay the full cost of their care. Because of this rule, it is estimated that 40,000 or more family homes are sold in the UK each year to cover the care bills.


Simply disposing of your assets will not work. What the local authority will be looking for is any signs of ‘deliberate deprivation of assets’ - whether it be signing over of a property to a relative or giving away large sums of money.


However, where estate asset values are below the nil rate band allowance value (currently £325,000 or £650,00 for a married couple), the use of our Living Trust would remove the need for probate on your home, therefore significantly reducing probate costs, delays, stress and giving your family immediate access and control of the family home upon your death. Furthermore, a Living Trust provides control for the family in the event of incapacity, protection against unforeseen circumstances like divorce and creditors, as well as many other significant benefits.

 

Therefore, although care fees could never be the sole reason for setting up a Living Trust and it was not set up at the last minute, it may be beneficial if set-up at the right time (when care is not foreseeable or planned) for the right reasons and for the right people. As a result, many of our clients have found that the assets held within their Living Trust have been disregarded during a “means tested assessment” for care fees. The bottom line is that as a minimum, in the event of needing to enter the care system later in life, most of us would rather that our family and loved ones are in control of our assets, such as our home, and are freely able to manage our affairs accordingly, and in line with our wishes.

Finally, in written guidance from the UK Government in the Care Act 2014, they have stated that:
“Guidance provides that it would be unreasonable to decide that a person had disposed of an asset in order to reduce the level of charges for their care and support needs if at the time the disposal took place, they were fit and healthy and could not have foreseen the need for care and support”
CARE ACT 2014.

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