Are social services accusing your relative of a deliberate deprivation of assets and threatening they won’t get free care?
A Deliberate Deprivation of Assets is sometimes referred to as capital reduction. It means your relative is accused of reducing their savings on purpose to avoid being classed as a self-funder.
As well as doing a professional job as a solicitor you are always upbeat and easy to deal with on the phone. This process is a stressful time and your open and honest opinions are a great help in getting through it. I will be very pleased to give you a good review in any online area.
What is a self-funder?
A person who has more than £23,250 in savings they are classed as a ‘self-funder’.
If your relative doesn’t qualify for free Continuing Health Care but has eligible social care needs their savings must be used to pay care fees.
And if they go into residential care, they’ll also have to sell their home to pay all their care fees.
If you think it’s unfair that your relative is being expected to pay for their own care – we agree!
After all, they’ve worked hard and paid taxes all their life.
But if you think that’s as bad as it gets – you may be in for a nasty shock.
What if your relative has already gifted their money? Perhaps they have already transferred the property to their children or other family members?
Here’s the really bad news…
What do I need to know about the means-testing process?
Social services carry out a financial assessment (often called a “means test”) when your relative is first identified as having care needs. Social services have the power to go through their bank accounts and financial records and can do it without your knowledge or consent.
Many people who, quite innocently, provided sums of money to their relatives some years earlier – perhaps to help their grandchildren with university or to get onto the property ladder – may find themselves accused of a deliberate deprivation of assets.
In such cases, social services will order the money to be handed over to cover care costs. If the money is no longer there – perhaps because the family have spent the money, social services will still demand that the money is repaid.
Isn’t there a seven year rule?
Isn’t there a seven year rule for gifting assets?
Many clients are shocked to find that, unlike inheritance tax, where there is a seven year rule which applies to gifts of assets – there is no time limit when it comes to deprivation of assets. Local authorities can go back as many years as they feel is necessary, if they suspect assets have been diverted to avoid paying care fees.
Even relatively small sums of money or gifts of family heirlooms such as jewellery could fall under the spotlight.
Social services can be ruthlessly thorough in their investigations and they will often threaten legal action to recover the assets.
What does this mean?
Will social services investigate is they suspect deliberate deprivation of assets?
Once social services find evidence that they believe indicate assets have been moved the onus falls on the individual to show why they are not still the owner of the assets in question.
The proof that Social Services require is very high and you will need to provide evidence to show that you have not deliberately deprived yourself of an asset.
An intention to avoid care fees need not be the sole or dominant reason, only a significant one.
To make matters even worse the person who made the transfer/gift may no longer remember making the transaction. This is no defence as far as social services are concerned and they will order the money to be repaid.
The Local Authority can AND DO bankrupt people in order to recover money.
Did you know …?
If you have used a firm to put your house in trust to avoid care home fees and their advertising or promotional material uses phrases such as “family protection trust” or similar, social services will use this as evidence of deliberate deprivation!
And now the good news…
What can I do if I’ve been accused of a deliberate deprivation of assets?
We have helped many people who have wrongly been accused of deliberate deprivation of assets.
Not surprisingly, they are shocked and upset that social services are wrongly trying to claim back money or possessions.
We have successfully helped fight wrongful deliberate deprivation of assets claims.
We know the law.
If you or a relative has been accused of a deliberate deprivation of assets, get in touch with the team at Steene Law now on 0203 653 0625.
Equally, if your relative wishes to gift money or possessions to relatives and you want to find out how to do this safely, without interference from social services in the future, call us.
We can explain how to protect your relative’s home and savings – effectively ring-fencing them from care home fees and avoiding accusations of deliberate deprivation of assets.
We will also advise you how not to do it. Some trust schemes that claim to help you avoid care home fees are decidedly dodgy and we will tell you which ones you should avoid at all costs.
Call The Care Fees Specialists Now
Steene Law specialise in Care Home Fees, especially protecting you from having to sell a property to pay for care home fees.
We are available from 8am to 7pm, 365 days of the year and will explain your options.