The provisions of the Care Act 2014 come into force from April 2015
It is worthy to note that from then Local Authorities will not have the power to assess married couples/civil partners jointly for means test purposes . Each person considered for care will have to be assessed on their own individual assets. Assets owned by the spouse or partner will not be included unless they are jointly owned . It seems sensible therefore to ensure that property is not owned as ‘joint tenants’ but as ‘tenants in common’ to ensure only one half is considered in a means test.
A new limit of £118000 has been introduced which means if you have assets above this amount (including your own home) then you will be expected to fund your care fees in total. Between £17000 and £118000 you will be expected to find a contribution towards the costs. This will be worked out based on £1 per week for every £250 worth of assets between the two figures.For example Assets total £95000 will mean you contribute £312 per week (ie £95 -£17=£78k divided by £250 = £312). The Local Authority will fund the balance of your care fees but this does not include the costs of board and lodgings only the assessed care amount.
A cap has been introduced for a maximum of care fees to be paid by any individual and this is £72000 but again this is only for the care element whilst in care and excludes food and accommodation . It is estimated that most persons in care for any length of time will have to meet total costs of approx.£150000. It is a very good reason to use a Lifetime Property Protection Trust in order to preserve your property for future generations of loved ones.
Early planning is essential and the use of Asset Protection Trusts in Wills or the Lifetime Property Protection Trust route must save your estate many thousands of pounds if you unfortunately have to be taken into care .