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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Dawes

Will care fees wipe out your children's inheritance

Updated: Jun 12

Money stacked under medication

The cost of care home or home care can be quite significant, potentially threatening the inheritance you plan to leave for your children. It is crucial to understand how these costs can impact your estate and what steps you can take to protect your assets.

It is important to get expert advice in financial matters. Organisations such as SOLLA, The Society or Later Life Advisors, can support you with financial planning.

The Rising Cost of Care Homes

Over the past decade, the cost of care home has been on a steady rise. According to a recent report by LaingBuisson, the average annual cost of a private room in a UK nursing home is now £44,000. This figure is predicted to continue rising in the foreseeable future.

The cost of care home services is attributed to several factors including increased regulation, higher staffing costs, and an ageing population that requires more complex care. With such costs, it's easy to see how one's life savings could quickly be depleted.

The Cost of Home Care

For those who prefer to stay at home during their later years, home care services provide an alternative option. However, this choice does not come without its own financial implications. The cost of home care varies depending on the level and frequency of support required.

Hourly rates for home care can range from £20-£40 per hour. For individuals requiring full-time support (around 50 hours per week), this could amount up to £78,000 annually – even more than residential care in some cases.

Impact on Your Children’s Inheritance

With such costs associated with elderly care, it's not surprising that many are concerned about their ability to leave an inheritance for their children. If you have not planned adequately for these expenses or if your health deteriorates faster than expected, there is a real risk that your estate could be significantly reduced or even wiped out completely.

The UK government does provide some assistance with care costs for those with assets below £23,250. However, if you own your home and have savings, it's likely that you will be expected to foot the majority of your care costs. This could mean selling your property or using your savings – assets you may have intended to pass on to your children.

Protecting Your Assets

While the cost of care home and home care can be daunting, there are steps you can take to protect your assets and ensure an inheritance for your children.

1. Long-term Care Insurance: This type of insurance is designed to cover the cost of care that is not covered by regular health insurance. It can help protect your assets by paying for a significant portion of the cost of long-term care.

2. Trusts: Setting up a trust can be an effective way to protect your property from being used to pay for care fees. By placing assets into a trust, they are no longer considered part of your estate when assessing eligibility for financial assistance.

3. Equity Release: If you own a property, equity release allows you to access some of its value while still living there. The money can be used to cover care costs without having to sell the property outright.

None of these options should be considered without seeking expert advice.

The rising cost of care home and home care services poses a real threat to the inheritance you may wish to leave for your children. However, with careful planning and sound financial advice, it is possible to mitigate these risks and ensure that your assets are protected.

Remember, it's never too early or too late to start planning for future care needs. By understanding the potential costs involved and exploring various options available, you can make informed decisions that will safeguard not only your future but also that of your children.

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