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Finding IFA to help with my gran's financial affairs

in Over 50s MoneySaving
22 replies 3.1K views
Hello all! I have Power of Attorney for my grandma who's 90 & lives in a care home. I've just sold her house & am looking for an IFA who can help me find the best way to pay for her care home costs (which I imagine will be an annuity) & generally help me access & sort out all her little investments & accounts. I've managed so far on my own with some scrimping, saving & research in places like this but now I feel a bit out of my depth & just want to do the best I can for her!

All help & advice welcome!

Many thanks!
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Replies

  • pmlindyloopmlindyloo Forumite
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    You could make a start by using this website:

    http://www.unbiased.co.uk/

    Read carefully all the information about choosing the right IFA for the circumstances.
  • patannepatanne Forumite
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    I agree with the use of the website above BUT I am not convinced that an annuity is the way to go. The brutal truth is that most people once they go into a care home only survive an average of 2 years. You will need a lot of available cash though. I ended up investing in a series of 6 month, 12 month 18 month 2 year accounts to make sure enough money was available to fund the home at the right time.

    I wish someone had been able to warn me about the change to ISAs up to £15k as investments may have been slightly different. They will make a big show of giving your gran her own social worker, but don't expect that social worker to do anything for her, they are only interested in people who haven't enough to pay for themselves. She will have an annual visit if she is lucky but a visit every couple of months if they are funding her so don't think that they will have any interest just because she may be vulnerable.

    No matter how expensive the home you need to keep on top of it. Make sure she always has her hearing aids in & her glasses on & her teeth in & that her teeth are being cleaned. Visit at unexpected times & check her clothes etc - things you never thought were possible to miss are totally missable. When you visit see if you can tell when the hairdresser was last in and that her nails are clean.

    So yes the money is important especially if you have the POA and therefore responsibility (I do). With anything to do with care homes your nose is your friend. The staff in a care home should have no idea whether your gran in personally or LA funded.

    Good luck - I've found it is much harder looking after someone elses money than my own. My parent however is still going strong at 2 years and 2 months (beating the odds) and whilst the brain may be giving up the body is still very strong and I expect she will go on for several years a least even if that is not what she wants & it certainly isn't.
  • pmlindyloopmlindyloo Forumite
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    Is your grandma claiming Attendance Allowance? This is not means tested and since she is self funding she is allowed to claim it.

    If she isn't then put in a claim asap.
  • patannepatanne Forumite
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    If she isn't claiming attendance allowance, being in a care home pretty much guarantees it. If you send the form in without the POA they should suggest that you can get it copied at the local job centre free & send you a paid envelope to send it in.
  • Thank you for the advice on AA, I'll get on it!

    patanne - yes it feels a bit like having to take a bet on how long she has left .... She's already been settled in the home for 2 years now & is doing remarkably well! But she is turning 91 this year... I'm just afraid of not doing the right thing, a solicitor advised me to get an annuity as it would show I was 'doing the right thing'.

    Not sure what else to do if not an annuity - just a good savings account?
  • edited 17 June 2014 at 11:05AM
    patannepatanne Forumite
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    edited 17 June 2014 at 11:05AM
    If you are really concerned then see an IFA not a solicitor, that would be seen to be doing the right thing. If you got an annuity what would you do if the home fees went up a lot and the amount wasn't enough. We were afraid the home my mother is in was going to close earlier this year and any suitable replacement was over half as much again! Why not check out the feasibility of an annuity on the money advisory service web site, at least it would give you a ballpark figure of what you can expect to achieve.

    What we did - put as much in ISAs as possible, that way no tax to pay. Some in instant access, then some to mature over 6, 12, 18, 24, 36 months as fixing is usually the best interest rates. (I think 3 years fix is too long at the moment but who knows!) Remembering the max covered for any one bank group is £85k.

    It all gets a bit complicated if taxable income does not reach tax code level but attendance allowance is not taxable.
  • Hi there, yes I'm looking for an IFA, wondering really if anyone could recommend one that dealt with these sort of issues so I could talk it all over!
  • dzug1dzug1 Forumite
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    Some years back I was in the same situation and did look into an annuity - there is (or was) a type specifically for care home fees. Informal discussions with an IFA indicated that he couldn't arrange one - there were only a few specialists that could. He did say that it would be about 3 year's fees and that the average life expectancy of someone in a care home of that age and in reasonable health was about 3 years - assuming they survived the first few months.


    I decided against it (partly the hassle of persuading her to agree to the medical side of it) and did DIY - a phased rundown of her least productive investments to pay the excess over her income.


    And she did live about 3 years......#


    Things may have changed, but don't be afraid of DIY
  • movingonmovingon Forumite
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    http://societyoflaterlifeadvisers.co.uk/ are recommended by Which. You need someone specialised in the area.
    Also, you don't need to worry about ISAs if your grandma is a non-tax payer. Given her age, she is not likely to be. You need to put her investments in something which has a good interest rate/best returns and find out what benefits she is supposed to get and make sure she is getting them.
  • This is perfect, thank you for your help!
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