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Long term care planning – be careful what you wish for say Tallents Solicitors
With life expectancies steadily increasing, Frances Kelly of Tallents Solicitors in Newark explores why preparing for long term care funding is a subject we should all be concerned about.
Currently local authority assistance is means tested, and in England and Northern Ireland everybody receives some help towards the nursing care element of their care. This is defined as care required to be carried out by a registered NHS nurse.
For those with assets over £23,250, accommodation and personal costs, such as help with washing, cooking and meals will fall on the individual or family members and can run into many thousands of pounds. In most cases the means test includes the value of any home – so a local authority can insist that your property is sold to meet the costs involved.
“It’s no wonder when faced with the trauma of losing their family home, that many elderly people are willing to try any means available in an attempt to protect their most valued asset.
“We’ve recently seen a UK bank fined tens of millions of pounds for mis-selling financial products which were purported to pay for long term care costs, but it’s not just the banks that are potentially taking advantage of the uncertainty surrounding long term care funding. Scores of companies also market trusts that ‘claim’ to offer the ability to protect the value of the family home when nursing care is needed. But this is not a guaranteed way of avoiding having to sell the family home to pay for nursing home fees.”
“Trusts set up for the specific purpose of avoiding long term care fees are likely to count as ‘deprivation of assets’ and any value transferred could be clawed back to pay for care charges. This means some solutions blatantly advertised as protecting assets from the costs of long term care may be completely unable to meet their claims and we recommend everyone seeks expert legal and financial advice.”
The Dilnot Commission report makes a number of key recommendations:
• Capping the lifetime amount an individual has to pay for care at £35,000, after which they would become eligible for state help.
• The upper threshold of assets a person can keep to qualify for means tested benefits should be raised to £100,000.
David Ryan of Nottingham-based Independent Financial Consultants, Cockburn Lucas commented:
“Dilnot’s vision of a 'shared responsibility' model, if implemented in the future, would split the cost between the state and the individual. This would allow many more product providers to become involved and offer new ways to help meet future care costs. We continue to experience a rise in the number of our clients entering care or facing care costs whilst in their own home, and are able provide specialised independent advice in this area”.
However, since estimates suggest it would cost the Treasury up to £1.8 billion a year extra it is likely that the government will be in no hurry to implement the recommendations in the Dilnot Commission report in the current economic environment.
“At Tallents Solicitors we would be happy to help you review your affairs, both before and during care, and offer both our professional legal advice and financial advice via long-term-care-
For more information, contact Tallents on 01636 671881
Tallents Solicitors, 3 Middlegate, Newark
Dilnot Commission: http://www.dilnotcommission.dh.gov.uk/
HSBC fines: http://www.guardian.co.uk/
Established in 1774 and with offices in Newark, Mansfield and Southwell, Tallents Solicitors services the legal needs of private individuals, company and commercial clients and farmers in North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
We still offer a personal service to our clients and our size and structure ensures that partners are never remote from our clients. We provide a full range of legal services and our expertise covers all areas of law including:
Agricultural law, criminal law, commercial and domestic property transactions, inheritance tax planning, trust and estate administration, wills and probate, commercial and general litigation, employment law, company and commercial law, intellectual property, matrimonial and family law, personal injury claims and children issues.
In 2009, Tallents celebrated 235 years, having served more than nine generations of North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire people. This makes Tallents one of the oldest law firms in the county and possibly the UK.
ABOUT COCKBURN LUCAS
Cockburn Lucas was established in 1997 to provide reliable and trustworthy independent financial advice to private clients, companies and family trusts based within the East Midlands region.
• Bespoke solutions - A modern and transparent approach to delivery of financial services.
• Dedicated client services team - Supporting all aspects of your financial planning and treating you as an individual.
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