Q. I am concerned that if I have to go into a care home, I might have to sell my home to pay for my care and my son and granddaughters wouldn’t get anything at all? Is this correct?
A: If you have to go into a care home, the local authority will carry out an assessment of your needs to determine if you are entitled to any financial assistance from them or the NHS. The NHS will only pay for your care in full if you qualify for continuous healthcare funding because your care needs are primarily health-based.
If you do not qualify for continuous health care funding, the local authority will carry out a means test to determine if you are able to pay for your own care. Generally, if you have capital over £23,250 (or £50,000 if you live in Wales), you will have to pay for your own care in full. If your capital is below the threshold, the local authority will contribute towards the cost of your care.
Your home will be included in the means test as a capital asset unless one of the few exemptions apply. The main exemptions are that (a) you are going into care on a temporary basis or (b) there is another person living in your home who falls within the specified categories (for example a partner or child over 60) who is financially dependent upon you.
If you do not have sufficient income and ‘readily available’ capital, such as savings in a bank account, your home may need to be sold in order to pay for your care. Many people try to avoid this situation by gifting their home to their children prior to moving into a care home. In the majority of cases, however, the local authority will consider this to be a deliberate deprivation of assets and they will therefore still include the value of your home in the means test.
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