COLUMN: Gary Rycroft: understanding the new care act

Gary Rycroft.
Gary Rycroft.
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Last week I was at The Law Society in London chairing a conference for solicitors who specialise in dealing with elderly clients.

A particular focus was the new Care Act 2014.

A law which is going to change the landscape with regard to the payment of care at home and in care homes.

Paul Burstow, a Liberal Democrat MP who is well known for an interest in the elderly, was a speaker.

One of my jobs as Chair was to show him where the gents toilets are situated in the magnificent but sprawling building which is home to The Law Society.

It was clear from our chat on the way to the gents and from his speech that Mr Burstow is very knowledgeable, though he should be given he served as a Health Minister when the Care Act was being drafted and later as a back bencher chaired the committee which scrutinised it.

The Act is both a consolidation of existing statutes and a significant reform.

It is a big shift from the 1940’s “paternalism” model of the Welfare State to a 21st Century vision of “personalism”.

For some personalism is a step on the road to privatisation of the NHS.

For others it is a move towards more person centred care and personal responsibility.

One headline grabbling feature of the Act is introducing a £72,000.00 cap on costs.

However, the cap is for care only and not “hotel accommodation”.

So if you are resident in a care home you could still pay out more than £72,000.00 in fees.

The reality is no law reform can alter the fact that as we live longer and have multiple health issues in old age, the overall financial cost of care will increase.

That is why having a legal and financial “MOT” sooner rather than later is the best way to make sure you and your loved ones are in pole position to pull off the trick of ensuring the best possible care, whilst still passing on assets to your chosen beneficiaries.

Next Tuesday October 14 at 2pm I will be popping up on BBC Radio Lancashire.

This will be for my monthly legal clinic.

There will be a focus on elderly client issues such as the payment of care home fees and powers of attorney.