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Care home costs myths explained by top Tayside lawyers

Care home costs myths explained by top Tayside lawyers

More than 200 people attended seminars aimed at expelling the misconceptions about care home costs. The two events, held in Dundee and Broughty Ferry, were arranged by Thorntons Law Firm and aimed to provide attendees with full, factual information on planning for the future.

Held in partnership with Elite Care, the seminars covered a range of topics including information on caring for the elderly, possible steps which can be taken to protect assets for the future, Wills and Care Home options. Murray Etherington, partner in the Private Client team at Thorntons, said: "It has become increasingly apparent that there is a great deal of misinformation around planning for care which is leading to increased worry for many people.

"What we wanted to achieve with our free seminars was to explain the key areas that people need to consider while also dispelling the myths.

"The most important message from Thorntons and Elite is that each person is a unique individual and should be seeking bespoke advice in terms of their future planning, both from a financial and caring perspective." There were three misconceptions that were evident at both events and focused around the area of Wills, Care at Home and Care Home Costs.

Will I don't require a Will as my estate will pass to my spouse.

Murray said: "If a person dies without a Will, the spouse is entitled to the family home, as long as it is valued at under £473,000, the contents of the home up to the value of £29,000 and a cash sum, the value of which is dependent on whether there are children or not.

"If the estate exceeds these limits then the children, or if there are no children, parents and siblings, will also inherit from the estate. This can cause problems, especially if the children are of a young age. There are also additional costs and time delays in dealing with estates where there is no Will."

Staying at Home There is no viable way for me to stay at home if I become infirm.

Murray said: "Elite Care provides daily support to hundreds of people who require care at home. Staff can provide a whole host of individually tailored solutions to enable a person to stay at home for far longer than people may realise.

"The Social Care (Self Directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 comes into force in April which will allow for even more opportunities for individuals to adapt their care solution to meet their own unique circumstances."

Passing your house onto children I have heard I can give my house away and it will not be included in the financial care costs assessment as long as I continue to live for at least seven years after the gift.

Murray said: "The local authority can delve into a person's finances as far back as they think is necessary. The key is not when the house was given away but why it was given away.

"If the primary reason was to avoid care costs then this would fall foul of the 'deprivation of assets' rules and the local authority would add the value of the gift back into the estate as 'notional capital'. In certain circumstances the local authority can challenge such transfers."

Posted by Murray Etherington


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