Jan 18, 2011

40% will sell up to pay for care

Almost half of all middle-aged Britons expect to sell their home if they need long-term care in retirement, new research has found.

Some 44% of couples aged 34-54 fear parting with their biggest asset is inevitable should one of them need domiciliary or residential care, a YouGov poll of 4,500 people has found.

Additionally, 38% of those aged over 55 admit they won't be able to meet the cost of care without selling up, law firm Dickinson Dees says.

Last year, 20,000 pensioners were forced to sell their homes to fund care fees, undermining a lifetime of hard work, saving and paying off mortgage debt.

If Dickinson Dees' figures are representative of the general population, some 2m middle-aged Britons are in a position where they'd have to sell up to pay for long-term healthcare.

The report comes just weeks after official statistics showed that 10m living Britons – 17% of the UK population – is expected to live past 100.

Each year 130,000 older people start requiring long-term care. This could be set to soar as a generation of baby-boomers born after the Second World War hit retirement – and stay alive for longer.

Full-time residential care costs from £30,000 a year, depending on location, the quality of home and the medical care needed.

Most people must fund this cost from their own pockets bcause UK law requires anyone whose total assets – including their home – fall above £23,250 has to pay for their own care.

With around 18m owner-occupied houses in the UK, selling up is one of the most common ways used to free up enough cash to pay the sky-high costs. That wealth then drains away at an alarming rate.

Willpower Managing Director, Paul Sharpe said "It doesn't have to be that way. There are a number of ways that we can structure the Wills and the finances of our clients to protect their wealth and to ensure that what they have worked throughout their lifetime passes to their loved ones".

For more information, please see our Care Homes Fact Sheet.