As we wait for the Government Green paper on Social Care to launch in 2019, the mystery surrounding the future of our social care and its costs continues to grow.
For many, it’s unclear what they should do to prepare for the welfare of themselves or their relatives as they reach older age. At the same time, they also need to consider how they might legally protect their family inheritance.
Create or update your Will
With careful Will drafting it is possible for spouses to protect part of their estate against care fees should the survivor of them require care following the first death. This can be achieved by creating a Trust over the first spouse’s interest in the family home or their overall interest in the joint estate. The Trust will benefit the surviving spouse during their lifetime and assets will only pass following their death to the children or perhaps grandchildren. The Trust allows the surviving spouse to enjoy the estate whilst protecting the capital value for the benefit of the next generation.
Seek advice before gifting
As a firm we are often asked if assets such as the family home and/or savings can be given away with a view to avoiding future care fees. The local authority will look at your previously owned assets and when you handed them over. If your actions are seen as a deliberate tactic to avoid care fees the gift could be reversed. The local authority also has the power to claim the care costs from the person who received the gift. Advice should be sought before a property or large sums of money are given away, to ensure you are protected and consideration is given as to whether the gift is likely to be questioned by the Local Authority.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney. The first deals with your Property and Financial Affairs and the second deals with your Health and Welfare. Should you be unable to manage your affairs, whether due to mental incapacity or physical incapacity, your friends or family cannot assist unless you have appointed them to act under a Lasting Power of Attorney.
By completing the Lasting Power of Attorney your Attorneys will be able to access your savings and manage your affairs on your behalf. Without this authority your family or those closest to you will need to apply to the Office of the Public Guardian to act as your deputy.
This can be a lengthy process which may result in your family looking to their own resources to pay for your care until the Court provides them with the appropriate authority to act on your behalf.
Take professional advice
Options are available to protect your estate, assets and family inheritance, while also preparing for the future. Everyone’s circumstances will be unique, so it’s not possible to purchase a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Therefore it’s essential to get the right legal and financial advice that has been tailored for your needs.
To talk to one of our experienced team about planning for your future, will writing, inheritance tax, trusts and powers of attorney email us today email@example.com Or call us: Hitchin, 01462 458711. Welwyn Garden City, 01707 887700. London, 0203 3279001
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