Planning for care: financial consiiderations
Planning and paying for care is more complex than it appears, but if you fully investigate the options available, whether for you or a loved one, then you should be well placed for a smooth transition through the care process.
Whether you’re contemplating your own requirements for care, or if you’re considering how best to proceed on behalf of a family member, perhaps in your role as an attorney or deputy, your main concern is most likely to be how this care will be funded.
Key points to consider
- Private Funding: You may be fortunate enough to be able to fund all care privately, but it’s always worth obtaining independent financial advice with regard to how best to utilise and maximise the potential of those assets available to you. You should also be aware that you or your loved one may still be entitled to an alternative source of funding or additional benefit payments which are based on your needs, even though you may consider that you do not qualify, so this is always worth investigating.
- NHS Funding: This funding is very much dependent upon the significance of your health needs, so should be explored if this is something that could be applicable to you. It’s so important to be aware of this option, which is often overlooked because people assume that they will be out of scope financially. It’s not subject to financial assessment and therefore is not means tested.
- Local Authority Funding: Should you have needs that are eligible, the Local Authority will carry out a financial assessment to determine whether you should contribute to the costs of any care provided and if so, how much. The Local Authority will expect you to declare all of your assets and income, although please note that certain assets are exempt from the capital assessment. For example your home; if certain classes of people still live there, including your spouse or a close relative over the age of 60 who is incapacitated, then the value of your property may be excluded from assessment.
- Topping Up: This is a growing area of interest in relation to Local Authority funding. You may find that the Local Authority assesses you as eligible for a certain level of funding, but that this is not enough to pay for your preferred residential care home. There’s an option to then “top up” the sum which is allocated for your care. You must be mindful of any agreement put in place by the Local Authority on this point and ensure that you’re able to continue to meet any obligations in this regard.
- Care Contracts: It is extremely important that you understand the content of any agreement you may be asked to sign and that you sign in the correct capacity, such as attorney or deputy, for example. It’s very easy to become personally liable for substantial fees simply by ticking the wrong box or signing something you haven’t read simply because it seems reasonable. If a move into care occurs urgently, as opposed to a slower, planned approach, this can be stressful and you may feel rushed. Always take the time to ensure that you have read the agreement properly and that you understand the terms. Be mindful of what you’re actually committing to and what is covered in those fees, as there may well be “extras” which you have not considered.
If you do require any further information regarding this subject please do not hesitate to contact either Nicola Turner on 01243 813140 or Emma McCann on 0114 2947807 from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who are specialists in this area, or visit our website.