As outlined in last week’s post – ‘Care Home Fees: Do I Have to Pay Them’ – when deciding whether or not an individual has to pay towards their care costs, the Local Authority (LA) may carry out an assessment of that person’s financial means.
During this assessment the LA may discover that the individual’s assets have been reduced, this can be either capital assets or income.
What is deprivation of assets?
The LA will then review the circumstances surrounding any disposals to decide whether it is a deliberate deprivation of assets. Deprivation of assets is defined in the statutory guidance to the Care Act 2014 as:
where a person has intentionally deprived or decreased their overall assets in order to reduce the amount they are charged towards their care.
deliberate deprivation of assets – Examples
- Transferring a property to someone else
- Gifting a substantial amount of money to someone else
- Substantial spending out of character
- Placing assets into trust which cannot be revoked
- Converting assets into personal belongings which are disregarded for the purposes of the financial assessment
Local Authority Considerations
- Evidence of the above doesn’t mean that it will be deliberate. When considering whether a disposal of assets was an act of deliberate deprivation, the LA should consider:
- Whether a significant motivation was avoiding the care home funding;
- The timing of the disposal; and
- Was there a reasonable expectation of needing to contribute towards the costs of care.
If the LA deem that a deliberate deprivation has occurred, they would normally charge the individual as if the deprivation had never occurred and they still owned the asset.
If the deprivation was by way of transfer to a third party, the LA can pursue the third party for any difference in care costs between what the individual is paying and what they should have paid had the deprivation not occurred, up to the value of the benefit the third party received.
Get in touch
If the LA have advised you that they deem certain disposals you have made to be a deliberate deprivation of value and you want to challenge this, call our Wills, Probate & Trusts solicitors on 0800 988 7756.