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Q My husband is going to need to move into care later this year and I’m so worried that I’ll need to sell our house to finance everything as we have more than £100k in equity. I don’t want to move but obviously want the best for my husband. What are my options?
A

Jeremy Matthews
English Mutual Group
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If you jointly own your property and will be continuing live there after your partner moves into care then it is disregarded from the means test calculation. If you decide that you want to sell and move to a smaller property, half of any capital proceeds realised as a result of the sale will then be regarded as the assets of the person in care, and included in their means-test calculation.

It is not possible for any of this share to be given away to children etc, to avoid this being included in the Local Authority calculation.

You can’t be forced to sell and the Social Services can lend you the money to pay for your care charged against your property value. However, they may limit how much they will pay and it could adversely effect your welfare benefit entitlements.

You could consider an equity release scheme. These schemes can enable you to release some of the equity from your property, in return for giving up a share of it’s value, which can then be used to help fund your care fees.

Q I’ve worked hard all my life and have been looking forward to leaving a sizeable inheritance to my three children and my six lovely grandchildren. However, I’m finding it increasingly hard to look after myself and it looks like I’ll have to go into a nursing home. How can I make sure that I leave as much as possible behind?
A

Nigel Wake
The English Mutual Group
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You should consider purchasing An Immediate Care plan (ICP), which pays an agreed amount to your care provider for the rest of your life. A lump sum is required to purchase an ICP; the amount required being based on age, health, sex and the income shortfall to be covered. An ICP can cap the cost of care leaving other assets free to be left as an inheritance for your family. You will need to find an independent financial planner who specialises in Long Term Care Planning as specialist qualifications are required when advising on this type of financial product.

Q My mother lives in Worcester but has recently been diagnosed with dementia. I’d like to have her nearer to where we live in Lancashire but it seems to be much more expensive – please help.
A

Nigel Wake
The English Mutual Group
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The cost of care varies from one part of the country to another especially when it comes to looking after people with dementia as there is a national shortage of 'dementia beds'. It is important to look around as many care homes as you can before you make any choices. The cost of the care does not necessarily reflect the quality of care a patient gets and you may well be better off financially and emotionally if you can find a small privately run home where the carers are part of the local community, seeing their role as a carer to be of prime importance and not see their occupation as just a job. There are such homes about but they are often a little more difficult to find. Start by talking to the district nurses at your local surgery. Your Mother may qualify for continuing healthcare in which case the care is free and not means tested.

Please seek independent financial advice as each situation is different and a recommendation should be based on your own specific personal and financial circumstances. The above statements should be treated as generic and not construed as specific advice.

 
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