My Care Consultant (MCC) has published an adviser-facing guide entitled ‘Equity Release and the Funding of Care Fees’, which highlights the importance of access to joined-up advice for consumers in relation to the non-regulated aspects of care advice, the regulated ‘paying for care advice’ and later life lending.
The guide has been produced by the UK long-term care specialist in conjunction with retirement specialist, JUST Group. It provides practical guidance on how advice on equity release and care interacts, as well as underlining the importance of consumers getting access to the best advice available at the earliest opportunity.
The guide highlights some key messages, including considering the reasons for any type of later life lending in the first place and the need for joined-up and timely information, guidance and advice, which may often involve more than one adviser and/or firm working together.
It follows the publication of the recent Equity Release Council report ‘Solving the social care funding crisis: perspectives on the contribution of property wealth’, which highlighted the role of residential property as an increasingly important asset that can be used to fund both care services and fees. MCC’s guide builds on this, with good practice guidance for advisers that looks beyond the minimum regulatory requirements.
Jacqueline Berry (pictured), managing director of My Care Consultant (MCC), said: “Put simply, consumers need joined-up advice to avoid disjointed and sometimes inappropriate journeys and outcomes. This issue is particularly acute when looking at later life lending to fund social care. In such circumstances, consumers need help at the beginning of their journey to explore whether such lending is even appropriate, including establishing eligibility for NHS and Local Authority support.
“It should only be once these non-regulated care advice issues have been comprehensively addressed and it has been established that the consumer will have to fund some or all of their care, that the best way to pay for this is considered via regulated care advice.
“At MCC, we offer practical information and guidance regarding non-regulated care advice to help advisers develop comprehensive long-term care propositions that better meet the full needs of their clients.”
The My Care Consultant guide can be accessed via Care Box, an online technical resource developed by My Care Consultant for financial services professionals, supported by JUST Group.
Jacqueline Wilkins, director of retail business development at Just Group, added: “Our 2020 Care Report research showed that more than half of over-45s would find a referral to a financial adviser helpful when planning finances for care in later life. And the same research highlighted how people are open to using both property and savings to pay for their care – among those aged 75 and over savings and property were the top choices for how people would expect to meet care costs.
“Over the eight years we’ve been conducting this research people have consistently said they prefer the idea of receiving care in their own home – and last year there was a marked increase in this number. It’s clear many people will need to use the value locked up in their homes to meet care costs and the role of advisers in helping people plan for care cannot be underestimated, which is why we’re very pleased to support Care Box and this adviser-facing guide by My Care Consultant.”