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Kelly Edmundson | LCF Law | Ilkley | Care costs

Personal Law Solicitor Kelly Edmundson looks at the governments plans for social care and gives advice on planning for care costs.

It is arguable that the Government’s long-awaited plans for a much-needed overhaul of social care were not worth the wait.

The White Paper on social care in England and the new cap on care fees is a step in the right direction to change to our broken system. However, it is unlikely to save many people any money and does nothing to alleviate the immediate crisis facing social care.

There may be a positive difference for a very limited number of people but certainly not poorer pensioners.

The Government published its White Paper on Social Care in December, which followed the Prime Minister’s previous announcement that a new social care cap would be implemented from 2023 and no one in England would pay more than £86,000 in care fees during their lifetime.

The new 10-year vision for adult social care aims to provide greater choice for those receiving care and certainty over costs. For the first time there will be a limit on the cost of care for everyone in the adult social care system - there’s more detail on this point below.

In addition:

  • £300m will be spent on supported housing.
  • £150m will be invested in new technologies, such as personal alarm systems and online rotas for staff.
  • £500m will be put towards improving training and qualifications for staff.

From October 2023:

  • Those with assets of less than £20,000 will not have to pay anything towards care fees - although they might have to pay from their income.
  • Those with more than £100,000 in assets - the value of their home, savings or investments - will not get any financial help from the council.
  • Those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 will qualify for council help, but will have to pay £86,000 out of their own pocket to reach the cap.

The new cap on care costs will cover fees for personal care, like help with washing and dressing, but it will not cover living costs such as care home fees, food or utility bills.

Plan now for your future

It is important that all of us make both a health and a wealth plan. It is time people stopped thinking of planning for the future as something to do in later life.

Day in day out we support older and vulnerable people facing issues like care home fee rises, the desire to stay in their own home and lack of access to funding for support for conditions like dementia. The earlier each of us begins planning, the more options we give ourselves when we eventually do need support.

When thinking about protecting your home when it comes to paying for the cost of care, there are a few things to consider:

If you need to move into a care home, you will usually have a financial assessment to work out how much you will need to pay yourself. If you own your house and your spouse, partner or civil partner is still living there then a ‘property disregard’ could apply which means your home won’t be used to fund care costs.

However, the local authority will take income, including pensions, into account when they decide how much people will pay towards their own care. This may reduce the household income available to the spouse/partner who continues to live in the property.

What steps can you take?

In most cases, couples tend to own a property as joint tenants so that when one partner dies the property automatically passes to the survivor. One of the primary reasons people change this is to ensure their 50per cent share of the property passes to their children, rather than it automatically passing to a surviving spouse/ partner, which consequently means the whole value of the property could be taken into account for the costs of care of the surviving partner/ spouse.

You can sever the joint tenancy over your property by written notice and then updating the ownership position with the Land Registry.

You should then make a will to ensure that your share of the property passes in accordance with your wishes. However, as an alternative, you may consider your home as an investment to fund your care. This would give you a greater ability to choose where you would like to be cared for, close to loved ones and relatives perhaps, and how your preferences could increase your care costs.

Independent Age also has some good advice on their website and a free helpline: 0800 319 6789.

What can we do to help you?

Each individual’s circumstances are very different, so we would always recommend speaking to a specialist solicitor when considering planning for future care costs, as well as having extensive experience and knowledge, we are also great listeners and work hard to really understand your circumstances and provide the most appropriate advice and support in order to give you complete peace of mind.

To find out more contact Kelly Edmundson on 01943 885 789 or via email ku.oc1657170107.fcl@1657170107nosdn1657170107umdek1657170107 1657170107

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