These are just a few scenarios where taking advice was really appreciated by the individuals and families involved and where it lead to the best outcomes for the clients. I think these cases also demonstrate the importance of having a joined up approach with the legal and both the regulated and unregulated aspects of delivering care planning advice. It is for that reason that along with individuals and families I also work with various professionals, solicitors, vulnerable client teams, advocates, charity sector and other organisations.
June, Mary & Jim
Mary and Jim were concerned about Mary’s mother in law, June as she was becoming increasingly confused as her dementia progressed. Following a fall and a short stay in hospital they were advised to look at moving June to a care home because her needs were too great to be managed at home.
June had established a Lasting Power of Attorney some years earlier and Mary and Jim were her attorneys for her health and welfare as well as her financial affairs. Mary and Jim contacted The Society of Later Life Advisers to find out if there were any SOLLA accredited advisers in their area, who they knew would be experienced in funding care and had passed the rigorous assessment to become a SOLLA Accredited Later Life Adviser.
They discussed various funding options with me and I also recommended some care homes that provide specialist dementia care. It was important for them to know if June could afford to pay for her care for the rest of her life in the care home she chose. June did not want to risk running out of money or to move to a home that could be further away from Mary and Jim as this would impact on the amount of visits she would have from them weekly.
June had an investment portfolio which she had built up over the years and they were fortunate that they had many options available to them to fund her care. After receiving my comprehensive care fees planning advice report they were in a good position to consider the options available for funding June’s care and able to make an informed decision that was in her best interests. This was important for Mary and Jim in their role as attorneys.
They decided to purchase a 2 year deferred annuity plan which meant that June’s shortfall in care fees would be covered by her investment portfolio for years 1 and 2, following that the deferred plan was in place. This route was slightly more expensive than if June had taken out an immediate needs annuity to begin with. However, Mary and Jim were a little concerned about the cost of buying the immediate needs annuity upfront incase June would have died relatively soon after purchasing the plan as she was not in great health at that point and they felt it may not be value for money. If this was the case the Insurance Company providing the plan would have had less of her money.
June’s investment portfolio was proactively managed and continued to grow and she was pleased that she was able to leave an inheritance for her family and that all her money would not be used to pay for her care.
Roy is 83 years old and lives on his own. He is in good health with the exception of arthritis. He had a fall at home recently which affected his confidence. This incident coupled with the fact that his neighbours of 33 years decided to sell their home and move abroad made Roy unsettled in his own home. He tried a 2 week trial in a local care home and really enjoyed the social aspect and made a decision to move there as soon as he sold his own home and a room became available at the care home.
Roy has full mental capacity and he contacted The Society of Later Life Advisers to find a SOLLA Accredited Later Life Adviser near him for advice on funding his care for the longer term as well as some advice on inheritance tax planning. He had not taken action in this area before and knew his potential inheritance tax bill could be a burden on his family. His home was worth in the region of 750k and he also had a savings account and a substantial investment portfolio.
Following a meeting with me Roy decided to establish his Will and a power of attorney and chose his son and daughter to act jointly as power of attorney for his health and welfare as well as his financial affairs. I referred him to a member of Solicitors of the Elderly in order to establish the Will and Lasting Power of Attorney. The solicitor and I worked together on his concerns around inheritance tax planning and the appropriate solutions. Until Roy met with me he was not aware of the importance of putting a Will or Power of Attorney in place nor of the actions he could undertake with inheritance tax planning. He began to realise the importance of the planning for his financial affairs and wished he had engaged with a later life adviser and a legal professional much sooner.
I went through the detail of Roy’s income and expenditure and asset position and produced a comprehensive report to show all the options he could have for funding his care. This report also included advice on inheritance tax planning which Roy was pleased with because it was important for him to gift money to his son, daughter and grandchildren for future education fees.
Roy wished he had taken financial advice sooner as he now felt so much better and in control of his finances. He established an effective plan to pay for his care for the rest of his life – allowing for increased costs in his care annually and this meant he could set aside a sum of money to gift his family individually. He could not have done this without my help or the help of his legal adviser as specialist advice was needed particularly for his inheritance tax planning. This made him very content as he desired to leave some of his wealth to his family and prior to working with his legal adviser and he thought this would not be possible and that care fees would have used up all of his wealth.
Betty is age 84 and widowed. She lives in Kent and her son lives in Scotland with his wife and young family. Betty has been in her own home for 55 years and she has good neighbours and friends who live closely and check on her daily. She recently suffered a stroke and needed a lot of care; it became apparent that Betty would not be able to manage on her own at home after her hospital stay.
Her neighbours very kindly researched some homes with her son to find a suitable longer term place for Betty to live, however Betty was upset because she really wanted to stay in her own home. Betty had set up an Enduring Power of Attorney some years ago when her husband had died and her son was established as her attorney. Her son was not aware that it would be possible for Betty to remain at home because he felt it would be too expensive and not practical due to her care needs following the stroke. They decided to seek independent financial advice from a SOLLA Accredited Later Life Adviser so they made contact with me. I discussed care options with them and put them in touch with a live-in care agency to discuss Betty’s care needs and what the package of care would look like and the costs etc. After some thorough discussions I was then in a position to assess Betty’s finances and to give advice on the most appropriate way to fund the care for Betty in the longer term ensuring she would not run out of money.
Following a benefit check, I made the family aware of the fact that Betty could claim Attendance Allowance and I guided them through the process of making the claim which was granted shortly after. Once the shortfall in Betty’s care fees was calculated, I produced the comprehensive care fees planning report covering all the options Betty had to fund her care. Betty’s son arranged an immediate needs annuity to cover the shortfall in her care fees and escalation was built into the immediate needs annuity to ensure that it would keep pace with inflation for the rest of her life. They also added in a payment protection option which means the provider will pay the difference to her estate if she dies before the value of her payments have reached 50% of the purchase price. Monies were also set aside in a deposit account to fund any additional care needs Betty may have in the future. The money from the annuity is paid directly to the live in care agency which is tax efficient and if Betty ever needs to move to a care home in the future the plan is flexible and the money can be redirected to the care home.
Betty is very happy to be able to stay in her own home and she accepts that in the future if her needs become greater she may need to move to a care home. Betty’s son is confident that in his role of attorney he adhered to his legal responsibility of taking reasonable care when making decisions on Betty’s behalf that were in her best interests. He also has peace of mind knowing that Betty is being well cared for on a daily basis and that her finances are structured to fund her care for the longer term because the immediate needs annuity will be paid for the rest of her life.