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Wills, Probate & Estate Planning

Long Term Care Solicitors

Preparing for your future can be overwhelming, particularly when making plans for your long term care.  While we would all wish to remain in our own homes as we reach our elderly years, this is not always an option.  It can be expensive when you consider alternatives such as care home fees so it is worthwhile arranging your affairs as advantageously as possible in the interest of your family or those you wish to pass your estate onto and your own financial security.

Our expert Wills, Probate and Estate Planning department are on hand to advise you accordingly in respect of long term care planning, including:

  • Advising on care home funding
  • Guidance relating to Local Authority assessments
  • Disputes involving Local Authority or NHS Continuing Healthcare
  • Discussing additional estate planning options such as writing or reviewing your Will, implementing a Power of Attorney, or drafting an Advance Directive

Here, we answer some of the important questions relating to long term care planning.  Should you have further queries or you would like to discuss your situation in more detail with one of our Long Term Care Solicitors, contact us today.


Long Term Care Frequently Asked Questions

What is long term care planning?

Long term care refers to a range of services designed to meet your health and personal care needs in the future whether that relates to your home, your medications and health, your welfare or your finances.  This is often required when individuals can no longer perform daily activities independently due to age, illness, or disability.

Why is long term care planning important?

Long term care planning is vital for securing your future and that of your loved ones. Without proper planning, the costs of long term care can quickly deplete your assets and impact your family’s financial stability. By engaging in thoughtful estate planning and considering long term care options in advance, you can protect your assets, ensure quality care, and give your loved ones the peace of mind that everything is taken care of and reduces the stress on your loved ones at an already emotional and distressing time for those involved.

When should I start making plans for my long term care?

It is never too early to start planning for long term care. Life is unpredictable, and preparing in advance ensures you have more options and control over the decisions made in the future. Ideally, long term care planning should be integrated into your overall estate planning process. If you own a property, have a mortgage, manage a business or have dependents, it is a good idea to plan for potential future care needs if and when they arise.

Long term care planning involves more than the cost of care for the future; it also includes making arrangements such as your Will or Lasting Power of Attorney.  Nobody knows what the future holds and you are never too young to plan for any eventuality.

What should I consider when planning for long term care?

Effective long term care planning encompasses various elements, including:

  • Will and Trusts: Having a valid Will in place, which may include a Trust depending on your situation, is vital to ensure your estate will be distributed in a manner of your choosing. This gives you the ability to appoint your own Executors, beneficiaries and guardians and not leave the distribution of your estate to be determined by the rules of intestacy.
  • Power of Attorney: In a similar fashion to writing your Will, a Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint your own attorney to make decisions on your behalf relating to your health, welfare and finances should you lose mental capacity due to injury or illness. Without an LPA, your family will be required to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship which, as well as the cost and delays involved, may lead to an undesired outcome should the Court appoint someone you would not have chosen.
  • Advance Healthcare Directive: This document allows you to state your preferences for medical treatment in case you cannot express them yourself.

In addition to these important legal documents, one of the first concerns you may have regarding your future care is how this will be funded, whether that is remaining in your own home or moving to a residential or nursing home.

What are my options when paying care home fees?

Selecting the right long term care facility is a crucial decision and as well as considering factors such as location, reputation, staff qualifications and the range of services provided, the deciding factor could be down to cost.

Most residential and nursing homes will charge on a weekly basis and there is financial assistance available through various programmes, including Local Authority funding and NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Eligibility criteria for financial assistance can be complex and may involve an assessment of your assets.  Essentially, should your assets exceed a certain threshold, you may be required to pay for care yourself.  Means-tested care assessments are only based on the individual that requires care and would normally not take into consideration:

  • Personal belongings
  • Capital value in a life interest trust of which you are a Life Tenant
  • Capital value in a Discretionary Trust of which you are a beneficiary
  • Bank accounts for the spouse or partner of the individual requiring care, however if the accounts are in joint names, the Local Authority will have sight of the funds.

Your savings, pension and property usually form the basis of the assessment and, if the total exceeds the threshold, will be used to pay for care home fees.  However, there are exemptions, such as:

  • Certain income will be disregarded, including 50% of your occupational or personal pension if you pass the remaining 50% to your spouse or civil partner, and if they are not living in the same home.
  • Your property may not be included in the assessment if:
    • you receive care at home
    • you go into care on a temporary or short-term basis
    • your partner still lives in the property
    • there is a relative over 60 living there
    • a child under 18 is living there or
    • a relative who is disabled is residing there.

Additionally, there are common misconceptions relating to gifting your estate to avoid care home fees and schemes such as deferred payments; both of which come with complicated rules and, if applied incorrectly, could lead to considerable payments and a reversal in the future. For example, if you were to gift all or part of your property to your children, the Local Authority may disregard the gift for the purposes of means-tested funding and may still make you pay for care home fees, despite the property no longer forming part of your estate.

As you can see, this is a complicated area.  Discussing your options with experienced professionals can help you understand your rights and better plan for the future.

What happens if I disagree with the Local Authority assessment?

The Local Authority considers many different factors when reaching their conclusion about your ability to fund your care home fees, and can use their discretion when making their decision.  However, you or your loved ones may not agree with their final judgement.

In this situation, it is important that this is raised with the Local Authority concerned to re-assess their findings.  Our Long Term Care Solicitors can assist with this process, providing you with advice and guidance during the dispute, liaising with the Local Authority on your behalf.

Can I change my long term care plan if circumstances change?

Long term care planning is not a one-time event. Life is dynamic, and as your circumstances evolve, so should your plan. We recommend reviewing your long term care plan periodically and after significant life events to ensure it aligns with your current needs and desires.

Our Wills, Probate, and Estate Planning department has earned a reputation for excellence and dedication. We understand the intricacies of long term care planning and are committed to helping you secure your future with confidence. Our team is here to guide you through the process, ensuring that your wishes are respected and your assets are protected.

Contact our Long Term Care Solicitors

To have your questions answered or to book your appointment contact a member of the Wills, Probate and Estate Planning team today from one of our offices in Andover, Romsey, Salisbury, Totton and Witney. You can get in touch with the team by using the Contact Form, email or calling your local office: