There are almost half a million people resident in nursing home and 50% of those are self-funding, this means that they have to pay for their own care. When you go into a nursing home you will be asked to complete a financial assessment and you will have to provide full details of your capital assets and pension income.
If your capital value is in excess of £23,250 you will be self-funding. If your capital value is below £23,250, the local authority will pay a proportion of your fees and once your capital value falls to £14,250 they will pay all of your fees but will take your pension income, less a small amount for you to spend.
If you are married and hold assets with your spouse, the authorities will consider 50% of jointly owned capital as yours for nursing home fee purposes. They will not, while your spouse remains alive and living at home, take the property into consideration. If you spouse should die, the property will then be included within your assets.
They will also take your pension income but where, for example, one party is entitled to a large pension that is required to maintain the home, they will allow the non care resident access to those funds to ensure that they do not experience financial hardship and be unable to maintain the property.
Giving away capital assets will not work as it is considered to be deprivation of assets and if the authorities have an inkling that this was done with a view to avoiding care home fees, they will assess your assets to include those given away. You may therefore find yourself in a situation where your capital base is much higher than it actually is because you no longer actually own your home for example.
Deprivation of assets includes:
Gifting a lump sum of cash to family or friends
Transferring property into the name of another
Selling a property for less than it was worth
Buying or gifting of expensive items
Spending large sums of money
Putting assets into trust
The key element of the above is intention. If the authorities can prove that you made the gift or transferred the asset with the intention of saving it from nursing home fees and that you had a reasonable expectation of needing nursing home care at the date of the gift, they will assess your assets as if that value was still in your ownership.