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How to protect your property from care home fees

© Supplied by ShutterstockMature couple getting legal advice
Arranging key legal precautions can prevent you from losing your property over care home fees.

Most of us are not risk-takers. Safety and security are things we crave in almost all areas of our lives. But many of us could be unknowingly gambling with our futures by not taking some simple legal precautions over care home fees in Scotland.

It is currently estimated that one in four people over the age of 60 years will end their days in care. Fees can be as high as £75,000 a year and the threshold for council support is having assets of just £32,750. So, with your house potentially counting towards that, it means care home fees are a direct threat to your property in Scotland.

You could lose your home and your children could lose a large part of their inheritance.

There are, however, ways of protecting against this.

Tony Marchi, principal at ILAWS, said: “Most people would say they’re not gamblers. Probably 90% of people who have money in a portfolio would have it in something that is low risk. People don’t like risk in their lives. So don’t do that with your home. It’s the biggest asset you’ve got. You need to protect it.”

The legal moves that keep your home safe

Documents being signed. © Supplied by Shutterstock
The steps needed to protect your property are not difficult to arrange.

Ways of preventing your property from being taken to cover care home fees in Scotland include Protected Property Trusts and Transfers.

A PPT places your home in a trust which safeguards your property. The benefit of a property trust is that if one of a couple dies, then the survivor can continue to live in the house until they die.

A Transfer involves legally transferring ownership of your home to someone, such as your child. It is NOT possible for them to sell while you are in the property. It simply allows you to remain in your own home and prevent it from being counted as ‘an asset’.

Winter is the time to act

It’s probably never been more urgent to set these things up. PPTs and Transfers cannot be arranged after you go into care and the risk of finding yourself needing that support is obviously heightened over winter.

Slips, falls and viruses are all more common in the colder months. Sometimes, particularly in old age, unforeseen and seemingly minor incidents can have life-changing consequences.

Tony added: “Without anyone doing anything wrong, so many of us are going to miss Christmas or New Year through an accident or ill health. It happens all the time. Your world can change in the space of a couple of months, never mind years.”

The importance of having Power of Attorney

Woman mulling over a decision in front of a laptop. © Supplied by Shutterstock
Don’t delay making a decision on vital legal protections.

With all this in mind, it’s also important to have Power of Attorney arranged. If you’re incapacitated, you need someone to make decisions for you and without POA that won’t happen.

Problems you could face include doctors making your medical decisions without the consent of your loved ones and in some cases, medics won’t administer treatment if there is any risk to you, even if your spouse or children wishes them to do so.

The issue is so important that NHS Highland recently ran a campaign urging people to ensure they have POA in place. In a statement, it warned: “Failure to do so can result in long delays in accessing necessary services.”

Special rate available but offer ends soon

ILAWS is, for a limited time only, arranging Power of Attorneys for a special price of £199 (plus £85 Scottish Court registration fee). The fee applies to the granter of the Power of Attorney and not the one receiving it. So if you grant POA to five people it will cost the same as for one.

The firm offers a no-obligation, free consultation, if you decide it’s not for you then it won’t cost you a penny. It’s important to act now if you want to take advantage of this offer. Spaces are filling up fast.

The cost will also have to rise early in the new year. But ILAWS is guaranteeing the current price if you make a booking for January now.

Tony continues: “We make the process as easy as possible. If you don’t want to there’s no trips into town, no parking headaches, no intimidating environment. We’ll come to you and explain it all in easy terms then it’s up to you what you want to do.”

Over winter there are risks everywhere. Contact ILAWS Scotland now to make sure losing your home to care home fees isn’t one of them.