There are two types of care advice services:
- professional financial advice, and
- non-regulated general advice.
Both types of service can explain how the care system works and how you can best manage your care needs.
Only a qualified and regulated adviser can give you financial advice on the best way to pay your care fees. This professional is also known as a specialist care fees adviser.
Specialist care fees advisers
Specialist care fees advisers are qualified experts. They can help you make an informed decision about the best way to pay your care fees.
They’ll ask questions about your specific circumstances, so they can give you a personalised recommendation that best matches your needs.
To do this, they’ll take into account your available assets, attitudes and preferences. They’ll also check if you’re entitled to any state benefits for paying for care.
If you have £100,000 worth of assets, or more, then it can be advantageous to get financial advice. If you own your home, it’s definitely worthwhile having an initial conversation.
If you have less than £100,000 of assets, a general care advice service can help you plan ahead. They’ll be able to help you find the right care and identify any state benefits you might be entitled to.
Get reliable advice from an expert
All financial advisers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The FCA requires that they have appropriate qualifications and experience before they can advise on care. This is to make sure they have the necessary knowledge on the important issues involved.
To provide advice on care fees, advisers have to hold a relevant qualification. This must be either:
- the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Long Term Care Insurance unit (CF8), or
- the Institute of Financial Services (IFS) Certificate in Long Term Care Insurance (CeLTCI).
You can use our adviser directory to find your local specialist care fees adviser.
Your initial consultation
Your initial consultation with a specialist care fees adviser could last between 15 minutes and an hour. After that, you’re under no obligation to proceed with that adviser.
You’re not usually asked to pay a charge for this meeting. The adviser will discuss any adviser charges for subsequent meetings.
If you’re enquiring about paying for care for another person, the adviser can discuss specific aspects with you. However, they can only do this if there’s a financial power of attorney in place and you’re the named attorney.
Your adviser will be able to:
- discuss your options for paying care fees
- talk about how the care system works, and
- give you general advice regarding what to do next.
You won’t be given a recommendation in this initial meeting. You will be asked whether you’d like to receive further advice.
It’s important to get advice as early as possible. This is so you can make the best use of your income, savings and other assets. Once your money is getting low, your adviser is unlikely to be able to help you.
Specialist care fees advisers will charge you for their time and expertise.
Advice can be charged at:
- an hourly rate
- a flat rate, or
- as a percentage of the amount needed to buy any product or investment they recommend.
The adviser must tell you clearly, in writing:
- how they’ll charge for their services before giving advice
- the amount you’ll pay them – and the way in which this is paid, and
- whether you pay them directly or if they’ll take a charge equivalent to the fee from any product you buy.
The fees your adviser charges you will depend on your circumstances and the products (if any) you choose to buy. It’s an FCA requirement that the adviser tells you about all fees they’ll receive before you buy any product.
To produce your personalised recommendation, your adviser will carry out an in-depth fact-find with you. This will involve meeting with you, asking a series of questions about your finances and discussing your options.
This fact-find will help itemise your income, savings and any other assets including joint assets and accounts.
Your adviser will also:
- discuss your attitude to risk
- explain the different ways you can use your available assets to pay care fees
- go through the pros and cons of each approach, and
- ask about your aims. For example, is leaving an inheritance important to you?
Next, your adviser will:
- research whether you qualify for any benefits, and
- identify how your money and property could be used to pay for care.
They’ll then take you through their findings and explain their recommendation. When you’re happy with their recommendation they’ll help you apply for any products you want.
Find a specialist care fees adviser
All the advisers listed in our directory are qualified, regulated, experienced specialist care fees advisers.
They’re also independent – which means they aren’t tied to a particular provider. This means you can get the best quote for your situation.
Many advisers in our directory are members of the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA). SOLLA members undertake extra qualifications and are checked annually to ensure they still meet the SOLLA standards.
General care advice services
General care advice services can help you:
- navigate the care system
- find the right care for your needs, and
- identify any benefits you may be entitled to.
However, they can’t give you financial advice on how to use your money to pay for care fees.
If you’ve got at least £100,000 in assets (including the value of your home) you should speak to an adviser. You can use our adviser directory to find your local specialist care fees adviser.
Find a general care advice service
The following general care advice services can help provide further guidance: