The quick answer to this question is no. Although we would always recommend that you obtain professional legal advice when this situation is looming, everyone should know the basic principles – this is because you may have already put yourself in a difficult or complex situation with your Local Authority before you realise you need a solicitor.
Property disregards are very important and knowledge of this is not widely publicised. If a person who owns a property needs residential care, there are circumstances in which their home does not need to be sold and should not be sold to fund their care. These include but are not limited to:
- If a spouse or civil partner lives in the property
- If a relative, who is aged over 60, a child under 18 or someone who has lost capacity lives in the property
12 week property disregard
Anyone who moves into permanent residential care will have a 12 week property disregard. This means that regardless of a person’s financial situation, a Local Authority must disregard the value of this property for the first 12 weeks after they move into residential care. This disregard allows people to have time to sort out the affairs of the person moving into care and also allows the appropriate assessments, carried out by the Local Authority, to take place.
Deprivation of assets
Deprivation of assets in simple terms means depriving yourself of assets with the sole intention of reducing your contribution to your care. Many people who believe or know that they will need full time residential care in the future consider transferring ownership of their property to their children. This seems instantly attractive because usually the family home is the main asset and the family want to preserve this asset for their beneficiaries. If a Local Authority suspects that deprivation has taken place, they may assess that person as still owning those assets and potentially still include them within a financial assessment and in some cases, assets can be reclaimed.
All issues relating to care need careful consideration and professional legal advice should be obtained. Should you have any queries regarding care and funding, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Elizabeth Power.
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