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Long Term Care - a bit of advance planning goes a long way!

Long term care isn’t a subject most of us want to have to think too hard about. We dream of staying in our own homes or even with family for as long as possible; or hope to have enough money to pay our way in a residential or nursing home if necessary. And the reality is that there are usually so many other calls on finances that finding the money to set aside for care in the future - sometime/never - isn’t usually a priority. But as with the rest of the money issues in life a bit of advance planning can make it all so much easier in the long run.
Up to 40,000 elderly people each year are forced to sell their homes to pay for long term care. Only people with less than £19,000 in assets are entitled to care in England and Wales - paid for by the state. And your home counts as an asset unless your husband, wife or another relative over 60 lives with you. So if you’re on your own at home the whole home usually gets handed over to the local authority to cover care costs.
It costs around £15,000 a year on average to keep a single person in a residential care home and about £20,000 a year or more if you need nursing care. Costs may be higher so if you have a home to sell it won’t take long for the money it makes to be reduced to the £19,000 threshold. While you have over £19,000 in capital the only financial help you’ll get from the state is towards the cost of nursing care and any allowance you might be eligible for because you need constant attendance. But even once your capital falls below this limit most of your income (such as pension) will go towards the cost of your care and you’ll be left with a bit of pocket money - currently £16.05 per week to cover your personal expenses. The local authority pays for the rest with limits on the maximum fees they will meet.
You may be happy enough to sell your home if you aren’t bothered about leaving it to someone. Your property may be the nest egg you’ve invested in for your old age. But if, on the other hand, you don’t like that thought there may be another way. A solicitor or an accountant will be able to help with your inheritance planning so that you can leave your property or part of it to your children so that the local authority can’t insist on you selling it. Take advice from someone who specialises in Inheritance Planning. If the local authority believed later that you’d deliberately given your property away to avoid paying care costs you might come unstuck. And it’s better to get advice sooner rather than later.
On the other hand you might be able to take out insurance to cover your care costs. Several insurance companies offer policies. You can buy these with regular premiums or a one-off single premium. The cheapest policies are insurance only. Premiums are non-returnable whether you make a claim or not and you can buy different levels of cover. Investment based products are more expensive and provide both insurance for care and a return if you don’t claim. As with any investment product the returns depend on what your premiums are invested in and the performance of those investments. The greater the level of investment protection which the policy provides the more expensive it is.
The policies pay out if a doctor confirms that you aren’t able to carry out certain activities - up to 6 activities of daily living as they’re called (ADLs). These are mobility, washing, dressing, feeding, transferring ( moving say from a dining room chair to a bed of similar height) and continence. If you buy a policy that will pay out only if you can’t do all 6 ADLs it will be cheaper than a policy that pays out if you fail at fewer ADL’s. Check all the small print before you opt for a particular policy. Each will provide different benefits and there may be exemptions - all of which affect the cost. As with all insurance it’s best to take independent advice. IFA Promotions will be able to suggest an independent financial adviser in your area who specialises in long term care deals….. call 0117 971 1177
You may not like the idea of planning for something you’d rather never experience but a bit of advice on inheritance planning and the peace of mind of the right insurance policy can take the sting out of it and with any luck you’ll never need to give the issue another thought.
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