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When you are older… Care homes and your assets

22 January 2013 2 Comments

Perhaps this is not affecting most of our readers, however it maybe affecting relatives and one day you may find yourself in this situation…

With care home fees now reaching a record high, it’s never been more important to make sure you get the most out of your assets in later life.

Read on for a guide of how to get the most out of your property, savings and possessions…

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If you’re liable to pay for your own care and have lived alone, your property will ordinarily be counted as capital 12 weeks after you move into residential care on a permanent basis.

There is a nationwide epidemic of people putting their property up for sale in order to fund their care home fees.  Currently, 1,000 homes per week are arriving on the market for this reason.

But what if the market isn’t very good and it’s taking some time to find a buyer?

In the short-term you may decide to rent the house out.  Alternatively, if renting won’t cover care fees, releasing equity is a good way of getting cash from your property that is not repayable until it’s sold.

There are a number of ways you may be able to avoid selling the home with due planning. These include:

  • Family trust

Ownership of your family home or other assets can be transferred through a family trust whilst you are still alive.

  • Gifts

It is against the law to transfer ownership of an asset to another person specifically to avoid paying your care home fees. However, there is no monetary limit on gifts given to children, and if an asset is gifted to a family member seven or more years before death, then Inheritance Tax will not be payable.

Savings Allocation

When you reach retirement, and even some time before, it’s a good idea to make sure all your saving funds are transferred into a conservative, low-risk plan. At this stage, you want to be locking in the assets that you have, as you don’t have time to recover from any incurred loss on the stock market.

What about other possessions?

You will undoubtedly want to take at least a few familiar or sentimental items with you into the care home with you, as these can carry treasured memories and help you feel at home in a new environment. However, space will be limited so the likelihood is that you will need to make arrangements to offload some of your possessions.

Parting with things that you’ve owned for a long time can be difficult, so try to focus on what these things could do for somebody else and put them up for sale or even give them away to charity.

Once you have decided which items to sell, there are a number of ways to go ahead:

  • Online Auction: E-bay or Amazon
  • Local car boot sales
  • Local furniture dealer (might take a number of items off your hands at once)
  • Local Newspaper Classifieds

Remember…

If ill-health is the main reason for a person going into a home, then it’s likely you’ll be eligible for an NHS scheme, Continuing Healthcare.  Under this initiative, the NHS is liable to cover all costs, including accommodation, with no ceiling on the amount paid out, no means test and it is not age-related.

This article was contributed by Laura Moulden on behalf of Cheselden, the leading Continuing Care review specialists. Follow the link to find out more about how you can avoid nursing care fees

2 Comments »

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