Long term care costs are rapidly on the rise. Recent research estimates that by 2025, the average cost of long term care will be £33,000 per person. Big budget cuts combined with rising costs means that it is more important than ever to plan in advance for the possibility of self funded care.
Long term care costs, especially in residential care homes, can mount-up very quickly and become unmanageable. Savings and investments that once seemed significant could be entirely lost to the rising costs of long term care, leaving you at risk in the most vulnerable time of your life.
Care costs can impact on your estate, affecting not only you but your family as well. Long term care insurance plans are a way to protect your assets while ensuring that the costs of care are met for as long as needed. They are insurance based products that involve investing a lump sum (premium) in exchange for a guarantee of payments. The terms and conditions of care plans depend on individual circumstances and needs.
The most important benefit of taking out a care plan is that you can put a cap on care costs, and avoid paying care fees until all your savings run out! This way you can protect your assets, preserve your inheritance and at the same time guarantee that payments will be made for as long as you require care services.
For those who are already in long term care and require help with payments, an immediate care plan could be suitable, provided you have access to a lump sum to invest. A deferred care plan is for those who have savings to pay for care, but would like to protect against future payments by investing an amount just now.
Other types of care plans are know as pre funded care. Typically these would be either an insurance based plan which aimed to pay your care fees or an investment care bond which aimed to use the income from the investment to pay the premiums on the insurance policy. These type of plans are no longer available. Another way to fund long term care is to release equity from your home. While equity release allows you to turn a property into usable cash, it does devalue your estate.
It is important before making any financial decisions to consult an expert. An independent advisor can give you impartial and considered advice about the pros and cons of all options. Long term care costs can be very high, and any decision involving long term care funding is likely to impact on your estate in serious ways. It is therefore necessary to take the family into your confidence and seek professional advice.