How do we fund my elderly relative’s care?

It is very common for people to require additional care as they get older, either within their own home or by moving into a care home. Having a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place ensures that you, as the attorney, can act upon your relative’s wishes or preferences around the care they receive, should they lose capacity. Without an LPA, it can be difficult for you to make decisions regarding the type, level and quality of care your loved one receives.

If your relative for whom you are an attorney has lost capacity and has not outlined any preferences in their LPA, you will need to decide how their care will be funded. There is a cost attached to any care service, the level of which can vary depending on your relative’s individual circumstances.

There are a number of benefits to which your relative may be entitled, which can often still be claimed beyond the point at which they lose capacity, including Pension Credits, Attendance Allowance and bereavement benefits.

If you are providing any care for your relative as well as acting as their attorney, you may also be able to claim Carers Allowance.

If moving into a care home is the best option for your relative, there are significant financial decisions to make. While there is some state funding available for care home fees, much of it is means tested, so if your relative’s assets are calculated by their local authority to be above a certain threshold, they will in most cases be expected to pay privately for their own care.

The value of any owned property may be taken into account when calculating this threshold depending on your relative’s individual circumstances, such as whether they live alone or with a spouse or partner. Often, decisions need to be made about whether to sell or let the property, or whether to borrow money against its value from social services.

By putting an LPA in place ahead of time, your relative can specify their preferences about these types of decisions. A specialist solicitor can help you as a family to discuss the various options available, ensuring that everyone involved is fully informed and confident about any difficult decisions that may need to be made in the future.