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Take Care - Never before has it been so important to look into and plan for the future

Never before has it been so important to look into and plan for the future. Many are living much longer and with all local authorities experiencing unprecedented budgetary costs, Councils are becoming much tougher in their approach in looking for payment from those who need to live in care homes.

As things stand the Scottish Government will pay a weekly contribution to those over 65 requiring personal care with an additional payment in excess of £70 to those (of any age) requiring nursing care.

Local Councils means test all those requiring to live in nursing/care homes and to pay for those who may need help in meeting the bill.

Depending on capital levels, the full cost of care may be required to be met by an individual. When capital falls below certain levels the Council will initially contribute to and then pay the whole of the care home costs.

Most people owning their own home will be required to meet the cost of their own care although the value of their house will be disregarded if it is occupied by a spouse or by a relative over 60 who is incapacitated.

Care costs routinely amount to £1000 per week, leaving a huge dent in family finances/inheritance. So what can be done? There are ways to plan for this and there are ways to deal with the situation as it develops.

In their means test the council will look at assets and how these may have been disposed of in the years leading up to the entry into the care/nursing home. If the council believes there has been a deliberate deprivation of capital – such as the transfer of the family home to a third party – they will assess the value of the asset disposed of and count it as “nominal capital” i.e. even if the asset has been transferred if the nominal capital exceeds certain limits the Councils will still require payment of the care bills.

The timing of asset disposal and the manner in which the disposal takes place are essential. Proper guidance and advice at an early stage are crucial so as to ensure the best possible outcome for both the individual and their family.

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