Care Fees Advice - Long Term Care
Care Fees Advice is a specialist type of financial advice which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It can only be provided by financial advisers, sometimes called Care Fees Advisers, Care Funding Advisers or Specialist Care Fees Advisers. Usually this type of advice, Care Fees Planning, is sought when someone requires Long Term Care and is moving into a care home; sometimes people seek advice when looking for ways to fund care at home. When a person who has a long term care need is recognised, a long-term care insurance contract should be considered as a possible option to help fund their care. To advise in a long-term care insurance contract the adviser will require a specialist qualification which is recognised by the FCA. If you have a financial adviser who doesn't have the relevant qualification they should not recommend a product that is an alternative to a long-term care insurance contract, where a long-term care insurance contract may be suitable, just because they do not have the qualification, such as the Chartered Insurance Institute certificate in financial planning and long-term care insurance.
We believe there is a lot more to being a Care Fees Adviser than just holding the required qualification. When someone requires long term care they, and their family, suddenly find themselves in a situation where they are having to deal with lots of different things at once, such as social care issues, hospitalisation, legal issues, money, state benefits, home care and care homes, and at the same time they are probably suffering distress. We believe financial advice is only part of what a Specialist Care Fees Adviser does. They also need to have a good understanding of the social care system, state benefits, legal issues, the NHS and most importantly an understanding and empathy for the family and their loved one at what is probably a very difficult time. Their experience cannot be simply measured by gaining a qualification.
Ask a Care Fees Adviser about their qualifications and experience
So where do you find a Specialist Care Fees Adviser?
We believe there are some very experienced care fees advisers who are members of the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA). All their members must adhere to a code of practice and full members must be fully accredited. They will have the required long-term care insurance qualification, but more importantly they would have been through an accreditation process which measured their skills and experience in working with, and understanding the needs of older people and their families and carers. You may find other websites with qualified care fees advisers too, such as Symponia and the Paying for Care website. Links can be found on your local page
How much will financial advice cost me?
Your care fees specialist will tell you about their services and costs. They may provide you with a free initial consultation without obligation. From the information you provide they will be able to give you an idea of how much their advice will cost. They will charge a fee for their services, in most cases they cannot accept commission from a product provider. The fee may be calculated on an hourly rate, or based on a percentage of the money you are advised on. If that is the case then you may be able to pay the fee separately, or it can be built into the cost of the financial product, but remember it is still your money as the product will cost more with the addition of the fee. This is called adviser charging. Alternatively the adviser may offer a fixed fee for the work that will be done.
What are long-term care insurances?
These are the only financial product, currently available, that have been specifically designed to help pay for long term care. They may be called Care Plans, Care Fees Annuities, Immediate Needs Annuities, Long Term Care Plans. They are a type of annuity that usually pay a guaranteed income for life. You buy them with a lump-sum of money. There are a myriad of variations but the two distinct types are Immediate Care Plans which pay the benefit out straight away, or Deferred Care Plans that pay the benefit after a waiting period. They can appear very expensive to buy but they can also pay out a lot of money, usually to help meet the shortfall in care fees. You can sometimes protect some of the purchase cost. The benefit is tax free if paid directly to the care provider. There are risks involved but they can provide "peace of mind" by helping secure care funding for life. Only qualified financial advisers can advise you about these products.
There are currently 2 companies that provide Care Plans. Make sure your specialist care fees adviser gets quotes from both. Ask them to compare Immediate and Deferred Care Plans for you too.
A specialist care fees adviser should indicate how long your savings will last when paying for care, what the shortfall is in your care fees, and how much a care plan will cost to meet the shortfall, possibly taking into account inflation. They should also consider the other options to help fund care and clearly explain the benefits and risks for each option.