How do I protect my assets if I have to go into long term care?

Are you worried about having to go into long term care? You want to protect your assets so the inheritance you had hoped to give your loved ones will still be there for them.

Our recommendation is always to plan for this as early as possible.

Whilst none of us wish to face this possibility, it is wiser to protect now rather than try to prevent later.

The reality is that living in care is expensive, so money and assets can very quickly dwindle, and before you know it there is nothing left.

When a Local Authority is assessing funds for care home fees they will look at your income first. If you have retired that means your state pension, plus any private pension you may have. Beyond that they then look at assets above a certain value – currently £23,250 in England and Northern Ireland, but slightly higher in other parts of the UK.

If you live in a property with your spouse or partner, they cannot force that person out of the property to pay your care fees.

If you have planned in advance you could consider putting your property into a lifetime Trust, which can protect it. But please note that transferring property ownership if you know you need to go into care, to directly avoid care fees is not legal, and there could be very serious ramifications, so please get appropriate legal advice before taking action.

If you have investments that have matured, you could consider an annuity or investment bond with life cover, that is designed to pay out for care home fees. Granted you may never get a return on this, or need it, but much like insurance, it is there if you do need it, and reduces the burden on loved ones.

Another alternative is to consider an equity release if you own your property outright. But you must remember you could be in care for many years, and at the time of you passing, the equity release provider will require proceeds from the sale of the house, before the remainder is passed to your estate.

Remember too, that you may be able to have carers in your own home rather than going into care, which could provide an acceptable alternative for you.

At an already distressing time, there is a lot to consider when facing care options.

We always recommend clients reflect on this long before they are forced to make decisions. This also ensures your loved ones are clear on your wishes too.

If you would like more detailed guidance on what to consider around care, we are very happy to recommend the services of Jacqueline Berry of My Care Consultant. Jacqueline set up the business based on her own personal experience and is passionate about giving people the best advice to make informed care decisions.

If you would like to explore Trusts, Equity Release or Investments in more detail then please contact us on 01344 875 310.

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