Can I make gifts whilst in social care?
On 1 February 2018 the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (Ombudsman) published a report following a complaint against North Yorkshire County Council.
The council had refused to fund the care fees of a resident (Mrs Y), claiming that she had deliberately deprived herself of capital.
The Ombudsman found that the council did not complete a full financial assessment and had found no proof that Mrs Y had made gifts with the intention of avoiding care charges and said that the council should:
- apologise to the complainant (Mrs Y’s daughter)
- pay the complainant £250 in recognition of the distress caused
- complete a full financial assessment based on Mrs Y’s circumstances in January 2015 (including considering properly whether the gifts made by Mrs Y were deliberate deprivation of capital); and
- review Mrs Y’s financial position now and consider how to reduce or settle her debt with the care home to avoid her risking losing her placement.
In this case Mrs Y had previously made regular gifts both before entering the care home and after, when she was funding her own care. Before making gifts out of capital, it is important to consider all circumstances, particularly if care is being received or is anticipated and take legal advice on the implications of gifts in regards to both care and tax.
The full report can be found here.
Rebecca McCarthy is a solicitor at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.