Long term care – tackle it sooner rather than later

3rd January 2014

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With most of us living for longer, it is concerning that very few people are making plans to pay for future long term care costs. Patrick Connolly, a certified financial planner at independent financial advisers Chase de Vere looks at the options available…

We see this scenario at first hand when speaking with prospective clients. Most aren’t planning at all and of those who are, or those forced to make decisions, many do not fully understand the options available to them and so could be leaving themselves and their families open to problems in the future.

Three common problems are:

Not including family members

Many people don’t feel comfortable discussing their finances or their health with their families. As a result family members are often not involved in the decision making process, even though they might be directly affected.

Patrick Connolly, Chase de Vere

Patrick Connolly, Chase de Vere

Even the strongest of family relationships can be stretched if people feel that the wrong decisions have been made. There are an ever increasing number of long term care decisions challenged by the courts as a result of disputes between families.

By involving affected family members at outset, all relevant parties can participate in the decision making process and understand why specific decisions have been made and so they are less likely to challenge them in the future.

The wrong mortality assumptions

As a nation we are living longer. However, in our experience, many people still considerably underestimate how long they will be alive. This causes problems when making financial planning decisions, especially regarding the amount of risk that is taken.

Those who live for longer than they had originally expected are more likely to deplete their assets, which will either affect their standard of living in the future or the amount they are able to pass to dependants or future generations.

Gifting

While many people are keen to gift assets which they don’t need or they don’t want to hold in their estate, getting it wrong can cause significant problems both while they are alive and upon their death.

Even gifts to a spouse, which wouldn’t affect potential inheritance tax liabilities, can accidentally be caught up in the deliberate deprivation rules if somebody needs care. Getting it wrong can affect the lifestyle of both the individual themselves, their spouse or other dependants.

The long term care funding rules are complex. People often have to consider what to do with existing assets and properties, the availability of local authority funding, mortality rates and changing legislation. Getting it wrong can mean the individual potentially suffering from a poorer quality of life and/or their capital being eroded quickly to the detriment of both themselves and their dependants and beneficiaries.

For many people it is sensible to take independent financial advice, either when planning for future care, when they know care will be required or even for somebody already in care to assess whether their current funding methods are the most suitable.

8 thoughts on “Long term care – tackle it sooner rather than later”

  1. therrawbuzzin says:

    People should pay for their ederly care out of their estate, when they have one.

    1. george says:

      So best to give it away or spend it before you need care!

      1. therrawbuzzin says:

        If you can trust whom you give it to.
        My advice would be to blow the lot whilst you are able to enjoy it; we’ve seen how the govt. rewards the prudent.

    2. Noo 2 Economics says:

      On the 1st of July 1948 a national contract was announced. That contract was called “From the cradle to the grave” and referred to a new concept called the Nationl Health Service (NHS). As the title of the contract states, the NHS was supposed to supply care “from the cradle to the grave” for UK citizens. In return for this care, the citizens in employment were to pay contributions called National Insurance Contributions which would also provide social security payments, additionally, employers were to pay National contributions on behalf of each employee.

      Currently, those aggregated payments amount to 25% of an employees salary and have hovered around that percentage for 30 years!! And you think people should pay for their elerly care privately!!

      The Government is in breach of said contract in expecting citzens to pay for long term care. As such, the citizens should either refuse to pay any further contributions or demand a significant reduction in their contributions and demand a refund of contributions made that could reasonably be considered as applicable to long term care provision (in accordance with the “to the grave” part of the contract). Then and only then should people ” pay for their ederly care out of their estate, when they have one.”

      1. therrawbuzzin says:

        I’m not talking about medical care.
        There are residential homes for the elderly whereby if you need more than normal medical care, you are refused entry, or even evicted.
        My fit and able 94-year-old neighbour was coaxed and cajoled into a residential home, whence her off-spring first let her home, and then sold it on her, not much later, subsequent death.

        1. Noo 2 Economics says:

          “I’m not talking about medical care.
          There are residential homes for
          the elderly whereby if you need more than normal medical care, you are
          refused entry, or even evicted.”

          Neither am I talking about medical care. I talked about “care” which includes keeping an eye on someone who is unsteady on their feet or has memory problems (forgets where they live or leaves a tap running with the plug in or leaves a pan on the stove until it burns out etc) but which also includes “medical care” such as operations and nursing when people are acutely ill.

          Residential homes don’t provide medical care, they provide care for people who cannot be left alone (i.e. they may forget to eat – think early stage dementia or Alzheimers) or they may need assistance with toileting and this isn’t just the elderly. If you need acute care you will be referred to a Nursing Home (which costs a lot more) or to a geriatric ward on a hospital in the case of the elderly, thats how it works.

          We seem to have drifted from the original issue of funding although it appears you think NI contributions are only for acute medical conditions – they are not, they are supposed to be for the much wider subject of “care” as I have described above.

          It’s difficult to assess someone’s competency at every day tasks unless you spend significant periods of time with them, your neighbour may have had problems not easily apparent (even something as simple as a loss of confidence as she aged) or then again maybe there was nothing wrong with her.

          I wonder if your neighbour’s offspring had to let her house to try to cover the residential home fees? Which should have been covered by the state under the “cradle to the grave” contract and so we come back to my original post and the circle is completed

          1. therrawbuzzin says:

            Would you not agree that the type of care we are discussing amounts to the equivalent of PRIVATE care?

          2. Noo 2 Economics says:

            Define private care please. Do you mean privately funded care or non acute medical care?

            If you mean non acute medical care then yes although it is still “care” as described in “from the cradle to the grave” contract.

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