It is well known that when looking at funding for care home fees, local councils look at means testing when assessing someone’s ability to pay for care fees.
I think that it is also well known that there is pressure on council budgets and the number of people requiring care continues to grow, as we have an ageing population.
Therefore, currently councils are more likely to look to see whether someone has given away assets to ensure that they do not have to pay for their care fees – this is known as deprivation of assets. It has also been suggested that local authorities have been known to assume that where a person has deprived themselves of an asset this has only been done to avoid care home fees, when actually there may be another, more realistic and important reason why they have done so, for example inheritance tax planning.
The good news is that recently the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) have issued guidance to English councils that will try to ensure that any financial assessment that they make is fair and they should be able to justify the decisions they make on funding.
They also need to consider the fact that intentional deprivation requires a person to have had a reasonable expectation at the time they deprived themselves of the capital that they may need to go into care and take into consideration the persons reason or motivation for giving away an asset. Such reasons could be to save inheritance tax, help out a family member or close friend, or indeed a combination of the two.
Whatever the motive, it is important that this is documented so that this can be provided as evidence should the need ever arise.