It’s official. We’re now living longer than ever before. Unfortunately for many people living longer can be a problem, especially if illness strikes and full-time care is needed.
Current estimates are that 433,000 adults are living in residential care settings across the UK. This figure is likely to grow as the percentage of over 65’s in the population grows. In the North West alone, the average cost of residential care is £24,492* per year. That is £2,041 per month! Nursing care costs far more.
Funding care fees can amount to a small fortune. That’s why receiving professional care fees planning advice at an early stage can be invaluable. Care fees planning needs careful consideration at a time that can be a very difficult, sensitive and highly emotional.
Here, we address some of the issues that need to be considered:
No. Most Private Medical Insurance will only cover acute medical conditions if a full recovery is expected. Long-term care is required when a person suffers from a chronic condition, illness or disability from which they are unlikely to recover.
Will the state pay?
No. The NHS will only pay the Nursing Care element of long-term care. So unless you qualify for Local Authority assistance, you will have to pay the rest. If you own a home or have savings, you may be expected to pay towards the costs of your own care. An estimated one in three people in the UK now pays for their care.
My family will take responsibility
Maybe. Although this is becoming less common. The rising cost of living has meant that for many families both partners now need to work. The harsh reality is that few of us have the time to provide regular, long-term care for a relative.
What if a family member is already receiving care?
If a member of your family is receiving care and paying their own fees, it still isn’t too late to consider alternative ways of funding the care. You could even reduce the overall costs.
Planning is the key
Just like saving for your retirement, it makes sense to plan for long-term care. Regardless of where you receive care (at home or residential), paying for care in old age is a growing issue.
Planning your care generally falls into one of two categories; ‘immediate need’ and ‘future need’.
Immediate need care fee payment plan
Generally speaking, families address the care fee problems when care is actually required. They need a financial solution that will be put into action straight away. There are many aspects of funding which need to be considered and no two situations are identical.
Some of the key points to consider are:
- Are all allowances and benefits being received?
- What income is available?
- Are there any other assets available? Will they need to be used?
- Could it be possible/advisable to fund any shortfall from these assets?
- Is there a spouse or any other dependent to consider?
- Is funding the shortfall from a specialised annuity (Immediate Care Plan) appropriate?
For many, the best solution includes the use of an Immediate Care Plan that guarantees to pay all or part of the care home fees.
The families of residents already in care homes often ask how they can plan ahead to cover the cost of future care fees. There are specialist solutions to plan for possible future care fees. Although in many cases it just comes down to good holistic financial planning- where your long-term care concerns are addressed along with other financial objectives.
Get the appropriate financial advice
If a person’s capital and savings and/or income push them outside the means test thresholds they will generally be responsible for the funding of their own care fees. This applies until such time as their money falls below the appropriate threshold. Understanding where this leaves you or your loved one can be daunting.
It pays to talk with a specialist long-term care adviser who can help you decide on the best option for you and your family.
At True Bearing we have several advisers with the specialist CF8 qualification. This means they are qualified to advise on funding long-term care. In addition, some of our advisers hold the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) accreditation. As well as strong knowledge, SOLLA accredited advisers are trained in understanding and empathy for the older client. We work with individuals, solicitors and care homes to provide specialist and independent advice on all aspects of care fees planning and funding long-term care home fees.
Our advisers will be able to explain all the costs and risks. They also work closely with our Barrister Intermediaries who can help with other things, like setting up a trust or arranging a power of attorney.
The ultimate aim is to maximise your income for meeting care costs whilst, as far as possible, preserving your original capital.
If you have concerns about care fees or any element of your financial planning, contact us today on 01257 260011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*Source data: Laing & Buisson 2014-15, via www.justretirement.com.