Living in a care home can be expensive. Some people are able to pay their own care fees, others may need help. To figure out how you will pay your care fees, you should know what type of assets you own and their value. This along with knowledge of the eligibility criteria means that you can plan for your future timeously.

If you need to go into care, the council will usually carry out a ‘needs assessment’. If you are over 65, the council will pay £171 per weeks towards personal care needs and an additional £78 per week towards nursing care needs in a care home (from April 2015). If you take the former, you lose your entitlement to Attendance Allowance or the care component of the Disability Living Allowance.

After the needs assessment, a ‘financial assessment’ will usually be carried out to ascertain what, if any contribution you may receive towards your accommodation costs. If you have savings or capital of less than £16,250, you will not have to use any of this money towards you care home fees.

If your savings and capital are worth between £16,250 and £25,250 and you are eligible for personal and or nursing care payments, your council will contribute towards the accommodation costs of your care home fees. You will however have to pay a ‘tariff income’ charge of £1 for every £250 between £16,250 and £26,250 in savings you have.

If you have savings and capital worth over £26,250, you will have to pay all your care home fees until your savings and capital reduce to the limit discussed above.

Rachel Alexander a Senior Solicitor based in the firm’s Dundee office commented: “ Trying to work out what you are entitled to can be very complicated. It is important to know that you will be assessed as an individual and the council does not have the right to ask your spouse, civil partner or partner to give details about their income or savings. “
She added: “Savings and capital means bank and building society accounts, national savings accounts, premium bonds, stocks and shares and property. Any joint property will be divided into equal shares unless you can show that it was held in unequal shares. Savings and capital that are ignored are the surrender value of life insurance polices, money held in a personal injury trust and personal possessions.”

If you live with someone, the value of that property (if it’s in your name) will not be counted as capital. The value of your home is ignored if a relative or family member who lives with you is incapacitated, under the age of 16 and you are responsible for them or if they are aged 60 or over. They will also ignore the value of property if someone has given up their own property to move in with you to care for you. If you own properties other than your main home, their value will be taken into account.

The system for funding care is complex. You may be able to retain ownership of your property by speaking to us before the issue becomes urgent. This will allow us to explain your options and you to take the most appropriate planning steps.

Proving that where there’s a will there’s an opportunity for charity, Tayside based solicitors and estate agents Miller Hendry is celebrating a highly successful collaboration with the campaign Will Aid – one that ranks the firm among the top fundraisers in Scotland.

Miller Hendry raised £6925 through the month-long annual Will Aid drive, which asks solicitors to waive their usual fees and have clients make a donation to Will Aid instead. The donations are then divided among nine Will Aid charities, which include Save the Children, Christian Aid and British Red Cross. During the 2015 campaign, Miller Hendry’s staff in Dundee, Perth and Crieff wrote more than 50 wills.

The money raised through the latest Will Aid campaign, which is held every November, puts Miller Hendry fourth highest in Scotland in terms of donations and 23rd highest in the UK. In total, Miller Hendry has collected £74,613 and run 13 campaigns for Will Aid.

Solicitors’ firm turns wills into charity effort

Presenting a certificate to staff at Miller Hendry’s offices in Perth, Katy Williamson, Community Legacy Manager with British Red Cross, said:

“We would like to thank Miller Hendry and all the people who made their will during Will Aid last year. The time donated by solicitors and the generous donations from everyone who made a will are already helping to save and transform lives around the world.

“It is so important to have a will to ensure your wishes and loved ones and taken care of. Will Aid also gives people the opportunity to leave legacy gifts, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who chose to include the Red Cross in their will, making a promise that help will always be there when someone needs it in future. Whether it’s responding to the recent flooding here in the UK or to the continuing humanitarian disaster in Syria, the donations and legacies from Will Aid mean we can continue to help people in crisis whoever and wherever they are in the world.”

Caroline Fraser, an associate with Miller Hendry in Dundee who specialises in the preparation of wills, said:

“We pride ourselves on giving back regularly to our local community, and in this case we have spread our charitable net even wider, donating almost £7000 to some top nationwide charities. We’re proud of our staff for not only winning a spot as one of the top four donors in Scotland, but for raising awareness about the need to write a will. The more people realise how important a will is, and that having one prevents a lot of unnecessary legal complications, the better.”