The thorny issue of paying for care continues to be a hot topic. The Care Act 2014 introduced the concept of a ‘care cap’ – i.e. making sure that a person didn’t pay above a certain amount for their care. Although this was announced with trumpets, it was then very quietly parked, never to see the light of day again.
The Conservatives have now stated that they intend to change the rules again. They are trying to sell the ‘care cap’ as a way of providing for people’s care in a way that means that people in care don’t have to sell their houses to do so – but ultimately the fees will have to be paid when they die and the family could be left with £100,000 or less, depending on the small print.
Many people want to ensure that their property passes to their children and grandchildren. They want to leave something besides photos and memories. The new proposals will inevitably prompt more people to take evasive action – gifting houses to the children outright and/or signing up for aggressively marketed and overpriced ‘asset protection trusts’ which promise to shelter properties from care fees.
The legislation anticipates this – such schemes can backfire dramatically and leave those seeking to shelter assets in a position where they are assessed as still owning those assets (and thus not being eligible for state funding). The double whammy is that they also wouldn’t be able to access the funds that they’ve given away to pay for alternative care arrangements.
If you’re thinking of trying to ‘shelter’ assets, talk to your solicitor. We’re not scary, we’re not as expensive as you might think and we can help you plan both for your care and for your loved ones.