Tag Archives: care home fees

Want to Avoid Care Home Fees? Beware of the Pitfalls

An estimated 1 million or more people have had to sell their home to pay the cost of care fees within the last 5 years; unsurprising given the average cost of a care home is over £700 per week. Many people who are worried about this are now taking drastic action to try and avoid paying care home fees. The results are not always effective, writes Helen Dandridge, solicitor at Ridley & Hall.

“Any schemes that guarantee to protect your home from being sold to fund future care home fees should be treated with extreme caution” says Helen; “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Helen has seen a recent case involving an elderly vulnerable lady which highlights the importance of obtaining independent legal advice from a trusted firm of solicitors before making life changing decisions.

This lady, who lived alone in the Huddersfield area, paid almost £3,000 for her property to be put into a trust. She did not need this service and undoubtedly did not understand what she was paying for. The idea behind the trust deed was to transfer the property out of her sole name, so that if she ever needed to go into a care home, her home would not have to be sold to fund care fees.

Ridley & Hall receive countless enquiries about creating trusts in relation to properties or transferring assets to a family member to protect against care home fees. Whether this option is appropriate to you depends upon your circumstances.

In this particular case, the elderly client went into a care home within weeks of signing the documentation. Her ability to understand complex legal transactions and to give clear instructions is debateable. Sadly, we will probably never know the true extent of what she was advised to do and more importantly, what she understood about the transaction she entered into.

The trust deed would never have achieved the desired outcome for this lady. It was not appropriate in her circumstances and she should never have been advised to sign the documentation. She was asked to pay the money up front and it is unlikely she will get it back.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case.

Many people wrongly assume that transferring their property to their loved ones will mean that the local authority will have to fund any care home fees if they need to move into a care home.

If you do not obtain specialist legal advice from a solicitor then you may have difficulties. Local firm Ridley & Hall are aware of companies who are cold calling elderly and vulnerable adults telling them they can protect their inheritance by putting their home into a trust.

If you need any advice regarding making or reviewing your will, inheritance tax planning or registering attorneys, please contact our Wills and Probate team on 01484 538421.

For further information, please see Age UK’s factsheet ‘Deprivation of Assets in the means test for care home provision‘.

Helen and some of her colleagues are running the Leeds 10km Abbey Dash in aid of Age UK on the 16th November 2014. If you would like to sponsor this worthwhile cause, please visit our JustGiving page.

Ridley & Hall Launching New Initiative to Reclaim Care Home Fees


Are you or a family member or friend in a care home or nursing home and paying for or contributing to care home fees?  Are you worried that your home may have to be sold to pay the fees?

You should be aware that you or your loved one may be eligible to have care home fees paid by the NHS and it may be possible to reclaim care home fees already paid.

An NHS continuing healthcare deadline of 31 March 2013 has been set for reclaiming care home fees in England.  The deadline applies only to care during the period of 1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012.

One of our experts in the Community Care team will be able to assess your case and let you know whether you could have a claim.

Why might nursing or care home fees be reclaimable?

A large number of care home residents in England are self funding their care home fees.  This can cost up to £1,000 per week.  It has forced many people to sell their homes to meet these costs.

Incorrect funding decisions may have been made, leaving people paying for their care and accommodation when they are in fact eligible for fully funded NHS continuing healthcare.  This funding covers not only nursing fees but also the cost of accommodation, personal care and healthcare costs.

A person may meet the eligibility requirements for NHS continuing healthcare if they have a primary health need.  Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) must take reasonable steps to ensure that an assessment for NHS continuing healthcare is carried out in all cases where it appears that there may be a need for such care.  PCTs may use a process for screening to decide if an assessment is required called an NHS continuing healthcare checklist.  PCTs may fail to carry out a full assessment when they should or may make an incorrect assessment of eligibility.

What you can do

Funding decisions for care and nursing home fees can be challenged but it is important not to delay in taking action due to the NHS Continuing Healthcare deadline of 31st March 2013.

You may qualify for free legal advice under the Legal Help scheme depending on your means.  We also offer our services on a fixed fee basis and are happy to discuss this with you.

If you would like to find out if you could have a claim, a member of our Community Care team will be happy to speak to you.  Please contact Tracey Ling on 01484 538421.  Our specialist advisors are able to assess your case and advise if you could have a claim.