The primary concern is that people requiring care, either now or in the future, simply aren’t getting the right advice. This may be that they are not aware of the support systems that are out there and I know from experience how hard they can be to access. Contributor Claire Carberry Partner – DMH Stallard and one of the UK’s leading experts on care for older people.
Many do not know how the system works and, prompted by scare stories, some people are gifting their properties to their children now – which leaves them financially vulnerable, may not achieve the desired result and in some cases may also result in additional inheritance tax when they die.
Additionally, there are a number of companies, many unregulated, who are preying on vulnerable people, asking them to pay thousands of pounds to put their assets into trusts which are unnecessary, and in many cases, simply not able to achieve what they promise.
As the recent Channel 4 programme stated, the minute you think of taking action to avoid care fees, you potentially fall foul of the ‘deliberate deprivation’ rules. It is essential that anyone thinking of trying to plan for care seeks proper, regulated advice. Someone faced with impending care bills of thousands of pounds may be reluctant to pay a few hundred extra to be told something that they feel they already know, but it really is worth paying that little bit more to ensure that you know what you are entitled to and that you have done all you can to ensure that your affairs are in order.
It’s important to ensure that that advisor is regulated and specialises in this area. Solicitors should ideally be members of Solicitors for the Elderly or the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. Financial advisors should be members of the Society of Later Life Advisors. This guarantees a minimum level of expertise and experience and provides some form of redress if things do go wrong.