Will your inheritance be lost to Care Fees or can it be avoided?

Will your inheritance be lost to Care Fees or can it be avoided?

Most of us work hard for the majority of our lives and when our time comes, we hope to leave an inheritance for our children or our families.

But…what about Care Home fees? What if we have no other option but to go into a Care Home, it may not be necessary for all of us, but a large proportion of us will have to because of our care requirements.

So, who pays for the care?

In the UK, those over the age of 65s make in excess of 1.3million requests each year for care and support.

A recent report (following a Freedom of Information Act Request) found that, across 205 Local Authorities:

  • 31% of over 65’s in Care received fully funded care; and
  • 53% of over 65’s in Care received partially funded care.

When broken down into regions, the report found:

 

Region

Percent of Over 65s receiving fully funded care

East

68%

East Midlands

17%

London

39%

North East

11%

North West

23%

Scotland

22%

South East

28%

South West

45%

Wales

16%

West Midlands

19%

Yorkshire

33%

You will see there is great disparity in the number of individuals that receive funding across the regions. So, is it a postcode lottery?

With Local Authorities only providing fully funded care in 31% of cases across Great Britain, what does that mean for the rest?

The eligibility criteria, for care funding, in Great Britain differ for England & Northern Ireland to Scotland and Wales. Here we will concentrate on England & Northern Ireland (if you require information for Scotland or Wales, please do get in touch).

To assess an individual’s eligibility for care funding the Local Authority will carry out a means-tested assessment and consider the income and capital of the individual applying for the funding.

The means-tested assessment will differ depending on whether the care required is to take place in the individual’s own home or whether the individual needs to move into a Care Home.

Where the individual is able to stay in their own home, with care and support, then the value of the individual’s property will not be included within the capital valuation.

Where the individual needs to move in to a Care Home, the value of the individual’s property will be included within the valuation. Where this property is still required for a surviving spouse to live in then this may be excluded from the valuation.

Now, for the finances:

  • You will have to fully fund YOUR OWN care fees if…
    • your capital means are assessed above £23,250; or
    • if your capital is under £23,250 but you have a weekly income that is high enough to cover the cost of your care
  • You will have to partially fund YOUR OWN care fees if…
    • your capital means are assessed between £14,250 and £23,250; or

You will pay £1 towards your care for every £250 of savings that you have  between £14,250 and £23,250

  • You MAY receive funding for care fees if…
    • Your capital means are assessed at less that £14,250

BUT…you may have to contribute from your income. However, you must be left with at least £24.90 per week (Personal Expenses Allowance for 2019/20) although the Local Authority may consider increasing this allowance if there are specific property-related expenses that the individual is responsible for or if the individual is also supporting a spouse.

Your property value may be ignored for a period of 12-weeks, when you first move into care, for the purpose of the means-tested assessment but following this period, it will be taken into account (as per the above).

So, does this mean that your property will need to be sold, in order to pay for care costs?

Not always, BUT…

Where you do have to fund your own care costs, the Local Authority may agree to a Deferred Payment Agreement (rather than sale of the property straight away) and this will mean that the care costs will be paid to the Local Authority when the house is sold or when the individual dies, meaning that the property can remain in the family, but will have a charge over it in favour of the Local Authority.

So, where does that leave you?

The same report considered above, found that just 21% of those over the age of 55 had made any provision for their future care costs and 44% said that they would use their savings and investments, with 40% thinking that their pension would be enough to cover the costs.

If you would like to consider your options and what can be done to give you peace of mind and avoid the loss of your Estate, and ultimately your family’s inheritance, get in touch!

In this article we have not considered NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding and if you require more information on this then please do get in touch with Leah Waller who has extensive experience in applications and appeals in relation to NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding. Keep your eyes peeled for future articles in relation to this.

 

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one moving into care, or want to get some plans in place, get in touch for a FREE chat on info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk or 01727 865 121

Leah Waller

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Dementia is close to our hearts at TLC…

Dementia is close to our hearts at TLC…

This week is Dementia Action Week (from 20 – 26 May 2019) and so we thought we would share with you, exactly why Dementia is a condition so close to our hearts.

We are passionate about Dementia having personal connections with family members developing the condition and so, we want to support others managing this challenging condition. We have created an educational website that we have just begun work on – www.DementiaTLC.co.uk – that provides simple advice, knowledge, hints, tips and support for those diagnosed with Dementia and in the early stages and their caregivers to provide them with confidence and ideas to support them in what can be a difficult time in navigating their dementia journey.

We are running a project in Care Homes using Rubik’s Cubes; researching whether learning to solve the Rubik’s can improve short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, dexterity and improve self esteem. We genuinely love this part of our job and it is an honour to work with the residents and see the positive impact we are making.

Total Legacy Care (TLC) is so named as we genuinely care, and are passionate, about our clients and protecting them and their families for later life; we are only too aware that conversations surrounding Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Moving into Care, Inheritance and the like are always difficult, often put off, and can cause tension amongst family members. We are here to make these conversations as simple and relaxed as possible, giving our clients as much information and time as they require to go through everything, ask questions and consider their options to ensure the best planning is put into place for their specific and individual circumstances.

Dementia affects many people, with so many of us having experience with the condition impacting our lives in a variety of ways.

Both Neil and I have first-hand experience of how Dementia can impact not only those diagnosed but their loved ones, their support system, professionals and the wider community,with both of us having seen our grandmother’s live with the condition.

I was very young (pre-teenage years) when my grandmother developed Dementia, specifically Parkinson’s but Neil’s experience was much more recent.

My grandmother was diagnosed with Dementia and as the condition progressed, she was unable to continue living in her own home and she moved in with the family so that we could provide 24-hour care and support for her. After several years, and as her condition deteriorated, it was apparent that 24-hour professional care was required and so nanna had to move into full-time care.

Neil

We can both relate to the similarities and variations of the condition and having now developed our knowledge much more, we are keen to help and support others on their Dementia journeys.

We are passionate about providing support for those recently diagnosed with Dementia, their caregivers and their loved ones and ensuring that they are able to put valid legal documentation in place (primarily Lasting Powers of Attorney) to enable them to continue living their life in the way they want to for as long as is possible whilst still being safe.

By helping those with Dementia to put plans in place, we ensure they have choice, control and influence over the decisions that affect them; putting valid Lasting Powers of Attorney in place allows the person living with Dementia to appoint an Attorney that they know and trust to make decisions that they would make themselves, if they could, and to take into account their wishes, acting in their best interest.

Becoming Dementia Friendly

Here at TLC we have made the following commitments to becoming Dementia Friendly…

o   All staff to undertake NVQ Level 2 in Dementia Care

It is important that as our organisation grows they have an understanding of Dementia and how to understand, communicate and care (on even a basic level) for those with Dementia and the different types of dementia and potential symptoms.

Both Neil and I have completed this course and we will require all staff to have commenced this within 12 weeks of starting employment with us.

o   Directors to become Dementia Friend Champions

Both Neil and I have undertaken the training to become Dementia Friends and complete the Dementia Friends programme. This is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative that aims to teach about Dementia, raise awareness and help the wider community to understand Dementia and how they can help. We will next take on the training to become Dementia Friend Champions so that we are able to deliver Dementia Friends training across the Home Counties.

o   To use social media to continue to raise awareness of Dementia, educate and help the wider community understand Dementia.

We have started an Instagram Account and Facebook Page to raise awareness and provide support and education for those recently diagnosed with Dementia and their caregivers.

We will continue to provide posts on these platforms on a regular basis.

We know that everyone can benefit from a little extra support and knowledge and so the aim of this website, and the social media accounts, is to provide knowledge and information as research continues to give easy-to-read hints & tips to help navigate, what can be, a tricky path through dementia. This website will also provide awareness to bring Dementia, and the variety of forms of the condition, to the forefront of people’s mind and support those in need, whether that be those finding out they have dementia, caregivers, loved ones of those diagnosed, professionals or the wider community. Our aim for the website is to give information in the same style that we do for TLC; colourful, fun and engaging. Those going to our site and using the website are looking for guidance and support and therefore we want to display a colourful, positive message rather than negative, dark and dreary which is the approach that is often taken. Although there is no cure for Dementia (YET!) it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom and there are so many things that can still be done and positive steps and actions that can be taken and should be encouraged – this is our aim.

Leah Waller &
Neil Barras-Smith

What happens if I die without a Will?

What happens if I die without a Will?

We are always saying how important it is to have a Will in place – well, we would, wouldn’t we?

But, what happens if you don’t?

What happens to all of your hard-earned cash, property and possessions?

We have created a simple flowchart for you to have a look at to see exactly what would happen to all your worldly goods should anything happen to you and you have not got a Will in place…you may well be surprised who could get your hands on it!

And…even if this is where you would want it to go, without a Will in place, it could be a costly process for your loved ones to go through in order to access their Inheritance.

(Please click on the image if you would like to download your very own copy!)

So, what does this all mean?

Let me set out for you the above…

The first consideration is whether you are married, if you are married and your spouse or civil partner survives you:

  • If the whole Estate is worth £250,000 or less
    • your surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit your entire Estate
  • If your Estate is worth more than £250,000
    • your surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit the first £250,000
    • The remainder will be split as follows:
      • your surviving spouse or civil partner will receive a life interest in HALF the remainder (above £250,000)
      • The other half to be split between any surviving children (if your children predecease you, leaving children of their own, your grandchildren will inherit their parents’ share.

If you are NOT married then the order of inheritance is as follows (in equal shares):

  • Living Children / Grandchildren / Great Grandchildren*
  • Living Parents
  • Siblings*
  • Half-Siblings*
  • Grandparents
  • Uncles and Aunts*
  • Half-Uncles or Half-Aunts*
  • THE CROWN

*If the person listed prior to the * has predeceased you but has surviving children

then their children will inherit in their place.

In the list above, no-one further down the list can inherit if the group above can inherit, therefore, if there are no living children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren or parents then your siblings would inherit (or their children should your siblings have predeceased you). Your grandparents would NOT inherit however, as the group above them have.

You will see ‘THE CROWN’ at the bottom of the list. Yes, that’s right…if you leave no family (set out in the groups listed) then your whole Estate will pass to the crown – is that what you want?

The best and only way to ensure that your money goes exactly where you want it to and to who you want it to, is to get a Will in place.

If you would like to have a FREE chat about getting your Will in place, please contact us on info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk or 01727 865 121

Neil Barras-Smith
& Leah Waller

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want to book a 

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What to do when a loved one dies…

What to do when a loved one dies...

Making the necessary arrangements after the death of a loved one is somewhat overwhelming and far from what we want to be doing. Below we have set out a few tips to set you in the right direction and always remember…you don’t need to do this alone!

  • Register the death

Registering the death must be done within five days and in order to do so, you will need the Medical Certificate (stating the cause of death).

You should consider how many certified copies of the Death Certificate you may need, as these may be needed to close accounts, to access funds, liaise with companies, collect in the assets and to complete probate.

When registering the death you will also receive a Certificate for Burial or Cremation.

  • Look for the Will

The Will, if there is one, is a very important document and may well contain the funeral wishes of the deceased.

  • Look for documents in relation to medical research and organ donation

These wishes may be contained in the Will but may be elsewhere.

  • Arrange the funeral

As said above, the Will or a Letter of Wishes (often stored with the Will) may include the funeral wishes or the deceased may well have had a funeral plan (that may also have been pre-paid) in place.

A prearranged funeral can save a lot of emotional (not to mention, financial) burden, when the time comes!

  • Ensure the deceased’s home is secure

This is important but may not be necessary if the deceased was not living alone and, of course, will not be necessary, if the deceased lived in a residential, care or nursing home.

  • Ensure their possessions safe

Just as important as the home, is the deceased’s personal possessions. It may also be apt to consider whether the deceased had a gun licence, that needs attention (as well as the weapons themselves) and whether there are any pets that need taking care of.

  • Find insurance documentation and inform the insurer of the death

You will need to notify the insurance companies of the death and ensure that adequate home and contents insurance is in place

  • Inform the DWP Bereavement Service of the death
  • Inform the necessary government departments of the death (“Tell us once” service)

This service will save you from providing the same information to many authorities. You will also need to return the deceased’s Passport and Driving Licence.

  • Inform other companies / organisations of the death

This may well include the following:

    • Employer (if applicable)
    • Dentist / Podiatrist / Chiropodist / Health care etc.
    • Carers / Domestic or Residential Help / Cleaners etc.
    • Banks
    • Building Societies
    • National Savings
    • Insurance companies (Buildings / Contents / Car / Life etc.)
    • Pension providers
    • Credit card providers
    • Store card providers
    • Mortgage company / Landlord / Local Authority / Housing Association
    • Utility providers (Electric, Gas, Water, Telephone, TV, Internet, Broadband etc.)
  • Administer the Estate

After the above has been dealt with and the funeral has taken place will begin the process of administering the estate (often referred to as Probate) and this will include:

    • Obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
    • Collecting in and valuing assets
    • Distribution of possessions (in accordance with any Will)
    • Dealing with shares and investments
    • Selling property
    • Selling assets
    • Consideration and payment of debts and liabilities
    • Closing bank / building society accounts
    • Rehoming pets
    • Dealing with Inheritance Tax and Income Tax forms

As we have said, there is so much to consider and think about at such a difficult time but it is important to remember that you do not need to do it all alone!

If you would like to have a free chat about putting plans in place for yourself, or dealing with the loss of a loved one, please contact us on

info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk or 01727 865 121

Leah Waller

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want to book a 

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Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney: What is more important?

Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney: What is more important?

Now, Martin Lewis the Money Saving Expert has been in trouble with the press recently as he has said that LPAs are more importantly than Wills. This caused huge controversy and saw the expert having to justify himself over-and-over on social media.

Here at TLC… we agree with him!

Wills are very important and we highly recommend everyone should get one in place to ensure their wishes are carried out exactly as they would like when they are no longer around. There are so many benefits to putting a Will in place that people, unfortunately, only come to realise when it’s too late.

But, as important as a Will is, it’s more intended for when you die.

An LPA is vital to ensure your are covered and protected DURING your lifetime.

An LPA allows someone that you trust to act on your behalf and make decisions that are in your best interests should you no longer be able to do so yourself. This can relate to both your health and welfare as well as your property and financial affairs.

We have written lots about the benefits of an LPA and why it is so important to have in place, so check out our articles on the topic if you would like to know more.

So, this is why we at TLC, and I personally, believe that LPAs are more important than a Will.

However, it this all could be down to perspective…

When looking at the importance of Wills and LPAs, let’s consider who’s perspective we are looking at it from and why that makes a difference.

For me, it’s more important to take the perspective of the individual who is making the Will or LPAs. For them having an LPA will benefit them during their lifetime, the Will only comes into effect when they are gone.

If you look at it from the other perspective, that of their loved ones that are left to deal with matters, which is more important for them? This may differ depending if the death is sudden and so a Will may be extremely useful, or whether the individual deteriorates and loses capacity and then the loved ones will also benefit from being able to assist and have the power given under the relevant LPA.

Without a Will:

  • Will the family know what the person’s funeral wishes were?
  • The person will die intestate, this means the Laws of Intestacy are to be followed and essentially this means the government decides where that individual’s money goes.

The family will need to carry out probate and go through the courts to be able to do so; this  could be a lengthy, complicated and expensive process that could be avoided by putting a simple Will in place (and it costs a lot less too!).

At what is already a difficult time for the family, having a Will in place makes things a lot more simple, and although still difficult, it can prevent family arguments and tension.

Without an LPA:

  • If a person loses capacity and does not have an LPA in place then life becomes that little bit more complicated. A loved one, or carer, can apply to the Court of Protection for Deputyship (this is where the court appoint an Attorney to act for the person who has lost capacity), but this is a lengthy and extremely costly process. In the meantime you may struggle with the following:

Financial affairs:

  • Joint bank accounts may be frozen;
  • No one will have authority to access bank accounts in the person’s sole name to pay for expenses such as, grocery shopping, utilities & amenities and care costs to name but a few;
  • No one will have authority to speak with any financial institutions on behalf of the person;
  • No one will have authority to speak with any utility companies to ensure the provision of necessary utilities;
  • No one will have authority to deal with the property on person’s behalf making any decision regarding selling the property and moving the person into more appropriate accommodation for their care needs;
  • No one will have authority to speak with the Local Authority or the Department for Work and Pensions on behalf of the person to ensure the  correct benefits and financial provisions are in place.
  • For the Health & Welfare side of things:
  • No one will have authority to give direction as to the person’s living arrangements or day-to-day activities/welfare;
  • No one will have authority to liaise with the person’s GP, Hospital staff or healthcare professionals;
  • No one will have authority to liaise with care home/ warden/ sheltered accommodation in relation to day-to-day care;
  • No one will have authority to liaise with Local Authority in relation to the person’s health and welfare issues. 

So, to clarify, both a Will and LPAs are vitally important to put in place but we feel as though an LPA is more important to an individual DURING their lifetime.

If you would like to have a free chat about Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact us on info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk or 01727 865 121

Neil Barras-Smith

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want to book a 

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