Elderly people are attending roadshows and paying thousands of pounds for high-risk strategies promoted as simple ways to protect the family home from long-term care bills, reports Nicole Blackmore for the Telegraph.
But experts warn the methods advertised – which involve putting assets into trust – are far from guaranteed and could wipe out inheritance set aside for relatives.
The popularity of these seminars reflects the desperation among elderly people to safeguard wealth from long-term care bills, which can tally hundreds of thousands of pounds before the state takes over.
Care experts said these roadshows, which are springing up around the UK, suggest putting assets in trust for someone else – usually a child or grandchild – with the aim of sheltering them from local authority assessments.
Specialist financial advisers have warned these schemes are not only costly but local authorities may be able to seize the assets held in trust.
Instead, they urged people to act early to give assets to children or grandchildren – years before they need care.
Around 160,000 people go into care homes every year and 70,000 pay their own fees, according to research by analyst Laing Buisson. It said the average bill was £82,000, or £97,000 in London and the South East.
Anyone with assets above a preset cap must pay for some or all of their care costs. The cap is quite low – £23,250 in England for this tax year, £23,750 in Wales, £25,250 in Scotland and £23,250 in Northern Ireland.
Local authorities assess everyone who requests long-term care funding to determine how much they should contribute. Most property owners will be liable to pay towards their care, even if it means having to sell or rent out their property to raise the funds.
Experts have warned local authorities are increasingly challenging cases of what they call “deliberate deprivation of assets” – where people give away their wealth to avoid paying for care. Local authorities have the power to challenge such transfers and seize the assets.