How to plan long-term care

What should you be thinking about when it comes to your future care? Avoid the upset and problems of long-term care by planning in advance.

The benefits of planning long-term care

It’ll never happen to me, you say. But it just might – as my birthday every year reminds me: we’re all getting older. This is a good thing, I have spent the last 51 years looking at the alternative and I am quite willing to get to be older each year. But for some of us, older can mean that the body suffers from wear and tear resulting in the need for care in older age.

“Long-term care can be dealt with in advance and can be considered under the heading of savings”

Because this is one of the things that happens to ‘other people’ the subject tends to be put to the back of the mind, until it happens. Because long-term care (LTC) is quite expensive, depending on the degree of support required when it is required the danger is that it can easily swallow up all of your financial resources and even result in your house being sold to fund care. This, in turn, reduces the estate that you can leave to your dependents and that can cause additional concern, on top of seeing your capital disappear.

The upset and problems of long-term care can be dealt with in advance. It does not have to be considered under the heading of long-term care, but under the heading of savings. If needed for LTC the funds are there but if not required there is capital available to spend on that cruise, or whatever, or just to increase the value of your estate. Then, of course, you need to consider the inheritance tax aspect.

But as with all things financial, although it may not be possible to completely remove the problems related to long-term care, or inheritance tax, there are a number of things that can improve the situation:

  • Writing savings under trust, may keep them out of inheritance tax liability and ensure that they are not taken into account if Social services need to consider your circumstances should you require LTC
  • Use of an investment bond may help both situations
  • Purchasing your funeral arrangements in advance, reduces your estate and removes one of the concerns from your family on your eventual death
  • Ensure that your pension is arranged correctly to protect your family, should you die unexpectedly and that if in payment you and your dependants know what happens to your pension on your death.
  • If you have capital which could prove to be in excess of the amount that social services will allow before they oblige you to pay your own long-term care fees
  • Using some of the funds to purchase an annuity will turn the capital into income and reduce the value of your estate

All of these suggestions can be use in various combinations and the strong recommendation is that you discuss them with your independent financial adviser to achieve the best result for your individual circumstances.

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About the author

Chris Howell bought Seaway Insurance as a very small insurance brokerage back in 1987. Prior to that he had worked within the industry for 23 years. Specialising in investment and pensions.

 

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