Aged Care Financial Advice

Within Retirement - Investment Management

A retired woman with Aged Care services in Australia

When seeking Aged Care Financial Advice, most clients approach us because of money. They want to make the right choices. They want to get the most age pension while paying the least aged care fees and tax. And, of course, to invest wisely any surplus funds.  Undoing decisions in this area can be costly and emotionally draining for all concerned.  

But its so much more than that.  The emotional aspects of moving a loved one into care are paramount as you go through this process.  At Plan4Wealth, we have first hand experience with the trials and tribulations of navigating the Aged Care system.  

Needless to say, we have done our homework on both the financial and emotional angles.  

I had to help my mum apply to and move into her chosen nursing home a few years ago. She thought she was getting dementia and didn’t want to be a burden on me any longer!  And I’ve had to watch with sadness her health and mobility decline significantly following her move.  Contrast that with my dad, who continues to live independently. This creates a whole other set of worries that I have to live with.    

Cathy is now securing home services for her parents. She is also trying to convince her aunt with high care needs that ‘it’s time’ to stop living alone.    

So when you approach us to guide you through this, we’re talking from experience, not just from text books.

What can you do?

We don’t know your loved one like you do, and we won’t be able to help you select which services or which home would suit them best.  But we can help you with a step-by-step process to follow, which pretty much goes like this: 

  1. Make sure your estate planning is up-to-date –always! This includes making wills and powers of attorney. It should happen while everyone still has the capacity to make such decisions and to sign the documents.  This one escapes around 50% of all Australians—don’t be one of those statistics, please.
  2. Claim all concessions and offers. Once you are eligible for the age pension, keep an eye on ALL the concessions and home care options that you are entitled to. Many are from your local council or other local businesses. So, ask around and keep up with the available offers.  These providers are also a great source of further information in this field.    
  3. Do your research beforehand. Health can deteriorate rapidly after an accident or illness, no matter how young, so you don’t often get much advance notice. Preparing beforehand removes a lot of stress.  Why not make the research phase a lot of fun? Visit homes or retirement villages when they’re having ‘open days’ (especially if they put on free sausage sizzles or the like!)  Ask around and listen well when friends tell you about a good (or bad) service or Aged Care home or retirement village that they’ve come across.  There’s nothing like word of mouth to find the real deals around town, and to get an idea of which one might suit your loved one’s personality or background. 
  4. Keep CentreLink records up-to-date.  WWhen your loved one needs Aged Care, you will need to go through another financial assessment.  Their current centrelink records form the starting point. To this end, they will add to the value of the home if no family member or carer is going to remain living there afterwards. For a member of a couple, Centrelink will start with the ‘couple separated by illness’ calculation. It halves all assets and pays the single person rate. If your loved one is unlikely to ever return home, a better option may be treating them as two single aged care recipients.  Getting this calculation right upfront can benefit you financially. 
  5. Seek financial advice. Investing surplus funds in exempted assets can help. It can optimise ongoing Age Pension entitlements. We may advise you to keep the home and rent it out, or to pay for the full cost of the room in a nursing home, or just to invest in an annuity or bond. Timely advice in this area is necessary. 
  6. Review the ownership of various assets. This can help cut ongoing Aged Care fees. It also streamlines future estate planning. It can help adult children, in particular, minimise tax on inherited money. 
  7. Update your estate planning – again! We don’t have an inheritance tax in Australia. But we do have income tax, capital gains tax, and taxes on superannuation death benefits. These taxes can be reduced with a well-structured estate.  Definitely seek advice in this area and update it whenever there are significant changes in your life.  

How we can Help

If you want to find out more about how we might be able to help your particular Aged Care situation, book a free call now! 

Forewarned is forearmed as they say.  Wishing you all the best on your research journey. 

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