What care options do you have?
My Aunt can now stay in her own home with a live in carer and payments are made directly to the agency and her care and personal security is now protected for life.
Provision for our later lives and the funding of care is a significant cause of worry for many people, whether it is for us personally or for older relations. Not only is it a difficult time emotionally, but there are many financial complexities and decisions to be made when looking at care and care funding.
Nursing or Social Care?
Understanding the interaction and guidelines on both nursing and social care is challenging. This critical division in care responsibility is often blurred by the NHS and Local Authorities, to the detriment of the individual.
So why is this distinction so important to you?
Health care provision is delivered by the NHS and not subject to financial assessment, so no personal contribution is required. Social care provision falls under the local authority’s domain, subject to a means tested financial assessment which includes the property and a possible personal contribution, eroding the estate left on death.
Unfortunately, the assessment guidelines which dictate that primary health needs should be considered before social needs are frequently not adhered to. As a consequence, the system often fails to apportion responsibility appropriately.
Ideally the care need will be determined as primary health care. But, in reality given the strict qualification criteria applied, success is rare and most care defaults to the social care arena.
What care funding options do you have?
Once the social care need has been determined and the financial assessment completed, to identify the level of self-funding required, options in meeting the cost of care locally (circa £50,000 plus annually in Essex) can be considered.
The key is to first identify the Gap; the shortfall between ongoing income and the cost of care, making due allowance for personal and any continuing property expenditure. It is this Gap that needs to be addressed from capital assets.
Gap funding from cash deposits is a logical first consideration, but not the only option, and carries the risk of running out of money if care provision is long term.
Other options include investment plans and renting the property out, but leaves future funding exposed to market risks or rental voids.
Where existing liquid assets don’t cover the capital shortfall Equity Release or a Deferred Payment Agreement could support funding by using the family home, without the need to move.
Each strategy has benefits and risks, so any decision should be taken only with a full assessment. The final solution may be one of or a combination from the options available.
Note, if domiciliary care (in the home) is required, or a spouse and/or dependent remains living in the family house, the property will be disregarded from the financial assessment.
Future proofing Care and the Estate
A popular solution is to set up an immediate needs care annuity to facilitate guaranteed monthly tax-free payments direct to the registered social care provider. Payments can be indexed to increase annually as care fees typically increase by 5% per annum or more.
Importantly, an immediate needs care annuity can provide a secure social care funding solution for life with a single capital payment and therefore shelter the remainder of the estate for future beneficiaries.
HarperLees can help you and your family with an independent analysis of all the options available to fund this care. Most importantly, we can assist you in making an informed decision and then work with you to implement the most appropriate solution.
Effective estate planning ensures your wealth is passed into the right hands, protected within the family bloodline. It maximises the value passed on to the next generation both in your lifetime and on death, whilst minimising taxes payable on your estate.
Don’t be an inheritance tax volunteer…
Society of Later Life Advisers
Adrian is accredited by the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) and recognised by the Personal Finance Society (PFS) as a Later Life Advice Specialist. This means Adrian has the necessary professional qualifications and passed the criteria necessary to demonstrate that he can offer both the practical and emotional guidance to help those in need.
Please click here for a book that has been written detailing the journey of one of our clients. This is something that we think you may find useful when considering later life planning.