Why long-term care planning is for now, not later

 30 June 2023
Why long-term care planning is for now, not later

The average life expectancy in the UK keeps on rising. This is good news for anyone born in the 2020s, who can expect to love on average to the age of 87.3 years, and girls to 90.2 years. Anyone aged 65 in the UK can expect to live for another 20 years for men, and 22 years for women. So it makes sense that we need to plan for a longer life beyond 65, and that includes long-term care provision.

Many people think that the government will pay for most, if not all of their care when it becomes necessary, especially if they choose to remain in their own homes. Sadly, this isn’t the case across the UK. Whilst (at time of writing), those assessed as requiring support in Scotland and Northern Ireland can receive free of charge, in England long-term care is means tested.

The threshold is currently very low: if you have savings and any property that can be considered valued at more than £23,250 (the upper capital limit or UCL) you will need to self-fund your care.


£100,000 and counting

There is good news on the horizon. From October 2025, the UCL will rise to a much more realistic £100,000. This change was originally slated in for October this year, as the Age UK website explains:

"As part of its Autumn Statement on 17 November 2022, the Government announced that the reforms will be delayed by two years. Originally, they were due to be introduced in October 2023 – this is now October 2025. The delay has caused many discussions, and you might have heard different reactions in the news or online. But it's important to remember that, until the proposed changes come into force, the current funding rules still apply."

You may be entitled to various grants and funding such as Carer Allowance, but this will usually contribute towards, not completely cover, the costs of care.


The £86,000 personal care cap

Much has been made by the government of the lifetime cap of personal care expenditure which also starts in October 2025. Again, according to the government, this cap on the amount anyone in England “will need to spend on their personal care over their lifetime”. However,

“The cap will not cover the daily living costs (DLCs) for people in care homes, and people will remain responsible for their daily living costs throughout their care journey, including after they reach the cap … DLCs are a notional amount to reflect that a proportion of residential care fees are not directly linked to personal care, like rent, food and utility bills.”


The actual cost of care

According to the Care Cost Calculator at Legal and General’s website (2), the current hourly rate needed to meet the living wage in Test Valley Hampshire is £25.95 per hour. (It’s much the same across the region, if not higher.) So any private care provider is going to charge considerably more per hour than that.

The current minimum weekly spend is likely to be:

  • 14 hours of care a week (1 hour am and pm) = £363
  • 28 hours of care a week (4 visits a day) = £727
  • Full-time live-in care = £700 - £1400. (In our team’s personal experience, closer to £1600.)

Add in the fairly worrying estimate that L&G make that “Nearly a quarter of people run out of money when self-funding their care”, and funding your care is it’s clearly something that needs proper consideration and planning.


Long-term care and estate planning

Those figures can look very scary, but it is never too late to start planning, saving and generally getting to grips with funding your lifestyle after 65. Estate planning should always be first focused on looking after yourself and each other as partner. There is absolutely no point in making strict provisions in your will to lock away monies for adult children who probably don’t need it, especially if they then need to help fund your care later on.

If you want to talk through aspects of long-term care planning, just book an appointment with us. We’ll take a holistic view of all your estate planning to date, and advise on ways to improve it and evolve it to suit your current situation and future plans.


How to stay young (with a little help)

One of the best investments you can make now to reduce the cost of long-term care is to keep as fit and healthy as you can. Investing time, energy and cash into eating well and keeping mobile will delay your need for personal care, and enable you to continue living independently in your own home for longer.

Longevity may seem beyond your control, but many healthy habits may lead you to a ripe, old age. These include:

  • Drinking coffee or tea in moderation
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Limiting your alcohol intake.

Taken together, these habits can boost your health and put you on the path to a long life.

The good news is, staying young doesn’t have to be arduous. Find a way (or more likely, ways) that suit you and are supported by your doctor.

Our social media team are great fans of Dr Michael Mosley for health and wellbeing ideas backed by scientific research and not tied into specific brands. Michael’s new Radio 4 series, “Stay Young”, starts on Monday 10 July and will cover how to stay fit, sharp and looking and feeling young. Sounds good to us!


Want to book an appointment?

Contact us here at Panthera Estate Planning. You can book an appointment either as an online call or in person at our offices near Waterlooville, Hampshire.

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Having looked around and contacted several professional organisations who would prepare my somewhat complicate will, I chose Panthera on a recommendation and sincerely believe I could not have found a better organisation.

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