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As we get older it is important to make plans for later life such as considering any future additional care needs you may have. Whether you would like to receive care and support in your own home or whether you would prefer to have peace of mind receiving care in a specialist residence, it is important that your family know what you would like so that you can be kept comfortable.
Another important consideration with regards to future care is how it will be funded.
Whether you receive care at home or in a specialist care facility, it is more than likely that you will be expected to meet the costs of providing the care you receive. This can cause concern and unwanted financial pressures where there are significant costs to be paid, even if you are eligible for any financial assistance from the local authority.
A major concern to a lot of people when planning for later life is the thought of being made to sell their home to fund expensive care bills.
Sometimes this is a worry because the property is the main asset and therefore people have usually banked on leaving this in their Wills to their family. Other times this can cause upset because the property may have been in the family for a number of generations and it may have been the intention for this to continue.
The truth is that where you own a property, even if it is held as Joint Tenants with your husband or wife, it will be classed as your asset (up to the full market value) for any financial care assessment. Whilst it is unlikely that you would be forced to sell if your spouse still lives in the property, it is unfortunately still possible.
Alternatively a charge could be registered against the property to cover any care fees incurred and with interest accruing, this could leave a huge dent in the equity of the property if it is eventually sold on your death.
Lots of people used to sign their houses over to children or others so that they no longer owned the property when it came to paying for care. However this loop hole has since been closed and the local authority can now look back to see if any person entering care has purposefully disposed of their assets to avoid paying for care fees.
There is no time limit to say how far back the local authority can look, leaving a rather grey area for people taking this option to know whether or not they will be successful. If the local authority is sure that an asset has been purposefully disposed of it is likely that they will be able to include the value of that asset in their financial assessment, leaving you back at square one.
Whilst we cannot give a cast iron guarantee that your home will be protected in its entirety, there are things that you can put into place to protect your property in as far as you are able.
Here at Poole Alcock we can provide specialist advice on whether you should consider severing your Joint Tenancy to become Tenants in Common (another type of joint ownership) and how this may impact your estate and future care costs.
We can also provide information and advice on creating a Property Protection Trust in your Will to deal with your share in the property upon your death to ensure that this passes to who you would want and to ring fence that share of the property from being included in any financial assessment of care fees for any surviving spouse.
If care fees and planning for later life is of concern to you, don’t hesitate to contact one of our expert team of solicitors here for a no obligation discussion about your circumstances so as to provide peace of mind for your future.
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