This blog highlights a very common concern for ageing individuals and their families – care home fees. It is a common concern due to the financial assessment involved in the process and the hope that one doesn’t lose assets such as property.
If a family member reduces their assets to avoid them being included in the financial assessment for care home fees, this is known as deprivation of assets. This can lead to a conclusion that they have deliberately reduced their assets to avoid paying care home fees.
This would permit the local council to calculate their fees as if they still owned the asset.
The council must consider two factors:
1. Did family member know at the time they got rid of their property that they needed care and support,
2. Was the purpose of the transfer of their assets to avoid paying care home fees or a significant a significant reason for the transfer,
Examples of deliberate deprivation might include:
1. Giving away a lumpsum of money,
2. Transferring ownership of your house to a third party,
3. Unusually spending a lot of money,
The test however is subjective, and you may have had perfectly good reasons to dispose of your assets.
If you disagree with the council’s decision you must first exercise your rights under the complaints procedure which has an appeal process if you still disagree with the outcome.
Reasons for an appeal would include:
1. The council have not established that they have not shown you were significantly motivated by avoiding care costs, not for example meeting your needs,
2. The council are not allowed to set blanket policies, but must base its decision on the facts of your individual case and allow you to produce evidence,
3. At the time the deprivation took place you had no reasonable expectation of need of care and support, for example you may have been fit and healthy at the time or had more assets than you do now,
4. You have not been given sufficient time to dispose of your assets,
5. Other people may have an interest in your property or have a right to live there such as a former spouse,
The facts can be complicated and whether there is a liability for care fees can seriously affect the size of an estate left over for your beneficiaries.
I can advise on such disputes and prepare your paperwork and evidence to give you the best chance of success. If you want to start this process or simply find out more, then please contact me using the details here.