Essential Legal Tips When Considering Longterm Care (Part 1)

Thanks to medical advances and better standards of living, many of us are likely to live considerably longer than previous generations. As a result of this, there’ll come a time when we’ll need to consider our options should we ever need longterm care. This article looks at some of the key issues that you or a family member would need to consider with regards to protecting your longterm care requirements and protecting your family’s wealth.

1. Hold your property as Tenants in Common

Property in joint names passes automatically on death to the surviving joint owner and therefore could be the subject of a financial assessment if the surviving joint owner were to go into care. By holding your property as Tenants in Common your interest in the property would not pass to the survivor but would pass under the provisions of your Will.

2. Make a Will

This is to make sure that your interest in the property would be held for your spouse ensuring that they can continue to live in the property for the rest of their life but they are not entitled to the capital which is ring fenced for the named beneficiaries. If on death the survivor goes into care the value of the property would not form part of the financial assessment.

3. Keep savings separate

Married couples or civil partners should keep their savings in their individual names rather than in joint names. Local authorities do not have the right to take into account the savings of your spouse or civil partner when assessing whether a person is entitled to help with the cost of care. To avoid any problems arising it is best to keep your savings separate.

4. Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a non means tested, non taxable benefit for people aged 65 years or over who need help with personal care. It is paid regardless of the level of your income or savings for care required either during the day or night or a higher rate for those who require care during both the day and night.

5. Request an assessment of your care needs

The assessment is the first stage in getting the help and support you might need and must be carried out by your local council before they can provide or arrange any services for you. Even if your intention is to arrange and pay privately for your care it is still a good idea to have a proper assessment to help you understand and decide what sort of care and support you need and is available. To request an assessment you should contact your local Social Services Department. If you are unable to do this yourself then with your permission your GP, friend, relative or other professional can do this on your behalf.