Coping with the Care Fee Crisis

Les Evans, Accord Legal Services  |  Published: Jun 18th 2017
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More than 400,000 people are in residential care and nursing homes in the UK. The number of people aged 85 and over is projected to more than double by 2039, and a surge in demand for places over the next two decades is expected as a result. With the cost burden of social care constantly increasing, recent government proposals suggest that continued attempts to raid the population’s personal coffers are a distinct probability.

However, none of this need concern you if you take action to future-proof your assets against political interference, with the help of a Lifetime Trust.

The concept of Trusts can be traced back to a time when knights joining the Crusades would ask a trusted neighbouring landowner to protect their castle and lands until their return. Today, they’re a part of everyday life – for example, your pension is a Trust, as are charities and many hospitals and schools.

You can place your own home and other assets into a Trust. Of particular interest are Lifetime Trusts that protect your estate both during your life and after your death to pass on securely and intact to your spouse, your children or other beneficiaries. The two key benefits most sought after are (a) avoiding the need to obtain a grant of probate with its associated costs and delays in administering the estate, and (b) protection from inheritance tax, as assets held within a Trust will not form part of the taxable estate of your beneficiaries.

However, a useful side-effect of such a Trust is that assets held within it cannot be means-tested or taken to pay for your care. A word of warning here though: as the Trust is not specifically designed for this purpose, it must have been set up at a time when you were in sound health and there was no foreseeable prospect of requiring care. If this is not clearly the case, the Local Authority could justifiably argue that ‘deliberate deprivation of assets’ had occurred, and lay claim to them accordingly.

To protect your estate effectively, it is therefore vital to act while you’re in good health. Accord Legal Services will be happy to help – call 01296 620350 or email info@accordwills.com for free advice.

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