Long-term care: financial assessment and future planning

 12 January 2021
Long-term care: financial assessment and future planning

Moving into senior residential care may not be high on your priority list at present. However, it’s worth thinking about in advance to make sure you have plans in place if and when you need to act. 

That doesn’t automatically imply that the moment you have problems getting the lid off your jar of marmalade, you need to move into residential care.

Home care and ageing in place

Ageing in place allows you to live in your own home for longer, with the support of your local health team and home care services. It’s a solution that many would like to choose, but the levels and availability of care provided by your local authority will depend on your financial position. That involves the completion of a detailed Financial Assessment Form. 

And this applies to our loved ones too; parents, grandparents, elderly or frail relatives and friends. Just at the time they need care and reassurance, they are faced with paperwork, stress and worry. 

At Panthera Estate Planning we can help with the paperwork, easing the stress for your loved ones. We can also help you plan your estate such that funding long term care for yourself is part of your overall strategy. To discuss your situation and requirements: 

Funding long term residential care

When you move into residential care, whether a care home or a nursing home, you will automatically be means tested. This review of your finances takes into account all your assets, including the family home. If your assets are valued above the Upper limits of the Long term Care Capital Threshold, you’ll need to cover the entire cost of your care. Financial help from your local authority only kicks in when your assets have been depleted to below the Upper limit. 

How much you receive depends how near you are to the Lower limit over time, as you are expected to contribute to your care costs. Once your assets are valued below the Lower limit, any contributions will be based on your income only.

Or, as the NHS website puts it more bluntly:

“You will not be entitled to help with the cost of care from your local council if:

  • you have savings worth more than £23,250
  • you own your own property (this only applies if you're moving into a care home)” 

The importance of your financial assessment form

This is the form your local council will require to assess your assets. You will need to give details of:

  • your savings
  • your capital
  • any beneficiary interests in a property
  • your weekly income
  • any interest from capital such as interest (it’s then treated as capital)

If you are entitled to financial assistance from your council, you will have to contribute all of your income, and other benefits such as your Attendance Allowance. Your pension may also be used to finance your care, or split to support any spouse who remains living at home.

Help with Financial Assessment Forms

This is where our professional help can really make a difference. We have literally decades if experience in completing financial assessments for clients. We make sure everything is properly accounted for, and that all allowances and exemptions are detailed. Call us for help in completing your own assessment, or that of a loved one. We really can ease the stress and worry, as well as ensure (literally) all the right boxes are ticked, including:

  • Completing the Financial Assessment 
  • Reviewing a pre-completed Financial Assessment Form
  • Liaising with the Local Authority on you behalf
  • Reviewing care home contracts
  • Help with claims for NHS healthcare funding

Self-funding home care

If you pay for your own care, you’re known as a self-funder. Self funding does not require you to disclose your finances to the local council. However, it’s worth getting a needs assessment from your council, as it is free for the asking. This is just to check what level of care you might need, and also puts you ‘in the system’, which is actually a good thing for coordination of various NHS health services you may need to tap into. 

As the NHS website says:

“For example, it'll tell you whether you need home help from a paid carer for 2 hours a day or 2 hours a week and precisely what they should help you with."

Depending on where you live, the cost of care in your home can be expensive, although usually not as expensive overall as living in a residential home. The important consideration in terms of your estate planning is that self-funded home care, by implication, cannot be funded by the sale of your home! 

Cruise today, care tomorrow

You’ll need to consider how your other assets might fund both an enjoyable retirement now and your long-term care requirements in the future. 

Again, this is where Panthera Estate Planning can help. Call us for an initial consultation with estate planning expert Paul Hammond, and discover how close you are to "your number”. This is the amount of money you need to live the lifestyle you want in retirement now AND fund your care needs moving forward.  

The good news is that you may already be close or at that number already, without even realising it. Paul’s expertise is to discover what your number is, and how it might be achieved and sustained if you’re not quite there yet. Your initial online, no-obligation consultation with Paul is yours for the asking. 

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During our initial discussion Panthera (Paul) fully explained the Will making process. We were made aware that our assets could be exposed to various risks such as Care Costs. Panthera (Paul) advised on how we could protect these assets by setting up Family Trusts. Having decided to go down this route Panthera (Paul) provided all the legal documentation in a timely manner despite having to work within the constraints of Covid-19 restrictions.

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