Whether or not you have to pay for your own care, will be subject to a financial means test assessment carried out when you permanently enter the care system.
Generally, if the capital value of your assets (including your property) exceeds £23,250.00 you will be expected to self-fund your own care.
Where the capital value of your assets fall below £23,250.00 but above £14,250.00, the Local Authority should begin part funding your care, based on assumed income.
Where the capital value of your assets fall below £14,250.00, the Local Authority should fully fund your care, disregarding the value of your assets as part of any financial assessment. However, your income may still be regarded as eligible towards the payment of your care.
Where your main asset is your property, you may have no other option but to sell your property in order to fund your care.
The Local Authority will disregard your property for the first 12 weeks, following permanent placement in a care home.
Whilst this allows you some time to begin marketing the property, this may not be sufficient time to sell as of course, this is subject to the conveyancing process being completed. This can take anywhere in excess of six weeks, subject to an offer being accepted.
In such circumstances, if you have no other income or assets that can meet the costs of your care temporarily, you may need to agree to a ‘deferred payment agreement’.
A deferred payment agreement allows you to defer the costs of your care and to set these against the value of your property. This allows you the additional time needed to sell the property.
Usually, a limit of no more than up to 90% of the value will be agreed and many Local Authorities will set their own maximum limits at between 70% - 80%.
There are certain factors that mean your property should be disregarded from a means test, for example, where your partner continues to live in the property.
More detailed guidance in relation to moving into a care home, means testing, paying for your care, treatment of your property and the associated disregards can be found on Age UK’s website. They have some really useful links and user friendly PDF downloads which provide plenty of easy to understand information and key facts.
Citizens Advice is also be a really useful point of contact.
You should also consider putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney as these can become very important documents should you move into a care home permanently, but have lost mental capacity.
For further information please contact Dayna Bellis.