Town & Country Law uses, and advises, Clients in relation to Deliberate Deprivation of Assets by specific reference to the AgeUK Factsheet, 'Factsheet 40', which has a good analysis of the legislation, case law and its application in England & Wales.
That document can be found here.
That guidance, in brief, is as follows:
When considering estate planning in later life, it is definitely advisable for individuals to consider how their actions, or the actions of those who advise them, will effect them.
Part of that is considering how the rules in relation to 'Deliberate Deprivation of Assets' interplay with those actions.
These rules cover the scenario whereby an individual deliberately gets rid of assets to prevent a local authority using them to pay for their (usually residential) care in the future.
Considering the rules on Deliberate Deprivation is not, of course, always necessary. As a general rule, if you intend to give away property or assets (cash, investments, house etcetera) in your lifetime, you should consider the rules in relation to Deliberate Deprivation of Assets and indeed whether you will fall foul of them.
First the warning: if you do fall foul of them, and need long term residential care in the future, you can be treated as if you never disposed of that asset for means assessment purposes, and the person or people who now hold the asset made to pay for your care up to the value they received.
Responsible planning is therefore key.
We can reduce down the guidance in relation to Deliberate Deprivation of Assets as follows:
If at the time you dispose of an asset (for example, putting a house in to a Trust) you were fit and healthy, and had no reason to believe that you would need care in the future, then you cannot be said to have deliberately deprived a local authority of those assets to pay for your care.
There is one further point. The disposal (for example, putting a house in to a Trust) cannot have been done, regardless of the above, with the sole (or particularly significant) intention of depriving a local authority.
So, if you undertake estate planning for genuine and responsible reasons, at the right time, that meets your requirements, that is of course fine.
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