The current political hot potato is Social Care funding. The Independent reported on 7th July 2012 that
“Decisions on how to fund long-term care for the elderly will not be taken for up to two years,”
The article goes on to say that “the Government admitted, amid Labour accusations that it had abandoned cross-party talks. Ministers will next week publish a progress report which backs the idea of imposing a cap on the total amount an individual should pay for care costs.
But a source conceded that there was ‘not any money available at the moment’, and that no firm decisions on how to proceed would be taken until a spending review in 2013 or 2014.
That will probably rule out any change until after the next general election, due in 2015, which will anger campaigners who warn that it is one of the most pressing issues facing the country.
One of the most controversial factors is the rising number of pensioners forced to sell their homes to pay for care in a system which is itself desperately short of funding.”
The unpleasant fact is that 69,000 homes are seized every year to fund care home fees.
The situation can and does exist where an individual has worked hard all their life and in their last days the family home is forcibly sold and the proceeds used to fund Long Term Care. Whilst someone who has no assets and has spent all their money and never saved a penny receives their care totally free of charge from the State.
This is obviously a sorry state of affairs and whilst the powers that be attempt to find some balance to the quandary of how we finance our care in later life there are options available here and now.
It is illegal to deliberately transfer your own property to a relation or another if your main reason of doing so is to avoid paying long-term care fees; this is an intentional deprivation of assets.
However, it is not illegal for you and your partner to each make a stipulation within your Wills, that upon the first death, the deceased’s half-share of the family home, is left in trust. The surviving partner is then given a lifetime right to reside in the property. On your partner’s death it then passes to your requested beneficiary, often the children.
Protective Property Trusts are not a legal loophole, within your Will you are entitled to do what you like with your half of the family home. This is known as testamentary freedom which is ingrained into English law.
So whilst the political wheels turn ever so slowly in a bid to create a fairer Social Care system we suggest taking matters into your own hands now and protecting your greatest asset.