When you’re looking towards your future and old age, one of the biggest issues many people face is having to pay high fees for residential care or support. If you set out to reduce your assets or finances to intentionally avoid, or significantly reduce, any fees for residential or long-term care, this is classed as an intentional ‘deprivation of assets’.
What counts towards deprivation of assets?
Funding for any long-term care is available from your local council and they will complete a financial assessment (or means test) to determine if you’re eligible for financial help. If they have reason to believe you deliberately reduced your assets, you won’t qualify. When they evaluate whether or not the deprivation of your assets has been done deliberately, they’ll look into two key areas:
- Whether you knew you were in need, or might need, care or support at the time you disposed of your assets
- Whether avoiding paying for your care was a significant reason for giving away your property or reducing your savings
While disposing of your money will be seen as deliberate deprivation of assets, the council will also look into any other methods used to reduce your assets. These can include:
– ‘Gifting’ large sums of money or property
– Unexpected, unnecessary, or excessive spending or gambling
– Transferring ownership of your house
– ‘Hiding’ your wealth by not disclosing the truth about your assets
What if I ‘gifted’ or ‘transferred’ any assets years ago?
It can be common for financial assessments to include all instances of deprivation of assets, but these can be inaccurate and there will be exceptions. The council will look at details including the length of time since the gift or transfer was made, the needs of the person the gift or transfer was made to, and whether there was an extended pattern of gifting.
If you have gifted or transferred any assets over the years, the time at which you did it is important. If you were physically fit and in good mental health at the time, with no need or expectation of any care in the foreseeable future, then it wouldn’t be classed as a deprivation of assets.
What happens if there’s a deliberate deprivation of assets?
If your council concludes that any finances or property assets have been deliberately given away or discarded, they will include their value in their assessment, even though you no longer have them. As a result, if you need long-term care, you can be told you don’t qualify to receive funding – even if you no longer have the money to pay for your care.
If any ‘gift’ or ‘transfer’ of assets has taken place, the council can also stop any care costs becoming available while taking legal action to recover any of the assets given away.
MJR Solicitors can help you
Deprivation of assets can be an unfamiliar, daunting, and complicated process to many people. If you’re currently being subjected to deprivation of assets claims or need specialist advice to learn more about the process, our team at MJR Solicitors can help you. Get in touch with us today and we’ll be able to answer your questions and make sure you’re getting the right help.
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