Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Selling up to fund care costs

Elderly Shropshire homeowners who face the prospect of selling up to pay for their care must consider all the options.

Andrew Green, our Managing Partner, said more and more families were finding they had no alternative but to sell the family home to cover costs. “Research has shown that nationally more than 60,000 homeowners every year are being forced to sell their property to pay for their place in a care home.”

A strict means test system rules that anyone with savings or property worth more than £22,250 has to fund their own care payments. “This means that anyone who owns their own house or flat is obviously going to be over the financial limit, and local authorities have legal powers to make people in care homes sell their houses to meet the costs.

“Of course, the current economic crisis is making things even more difficult, particularly given the state of the property market with house prices at their lowest for many years. So even if homeowners do sell, they are unlikely to get the full value they would previously have expected for their property.”

Andrew said it was vital that families did not make rash decisions, and that they considered all the options available to them. “It may not be necessary in every case to sell the family home, particularly if you take legal advice early enough – you may be able to set up a family Trust, which can be tailor made to suit your family’s individual circumstances.

“Taking professional advice is important, because selling your home is a daunting prospect at such a stressful time, and it’s important to think carefully in order to protect your family’s future.”