How to make sure your assets are protected as you reach retirement age


So, you’re about to retire and have a sizable pot of money saved up to enjoy your twilight years in comfort, whether that involves relaxing on a beach abroad or connecting with the natural world close to home. It’s a great plan and, in an ideal world, there would be no cause for worry or reason to divert from your dream path. However, it’s important to prepare for the worst case scenario.

If you or your partner are required to go into a care home in later life, your savings – and any property you have – may be at risk of being taken to cover the costs of care. Current care costs are about £50,000 per annum, and if you have capital assets worth £26,500 or more – including the value of your home – you must meet your care costs in full. There’s no need to worry though, as there are simple legal steps you can take to make sure that you and your assets are protected from whatever the future holds.

“While it is illegal to deliberately stop the local authority from taking money to pay for care home fees, there are legitimate ways to protect your home, involving transfers and/or trusts,” explained Tony Marchi, principal at independent legal and Will-writing specialists ILAWS.

“All the assets you have worked hard to accumulate could be taken away – this can and does happen. On occasion, we cannot help somebody – as there is no one size-fits-all solution – but about eight or nine times out of 10, we can provide clients with different ways of preventing the sale of the house.

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“If you have tens of thousands of pounds in savings, the local authority will take that first.

Signing Official Document Or Contract.
Permanently protect your finances with a single payment

For most people, the home is their main single asset, but have you taken the legal steps to protect yours?

We’re all accustomed to taking out insurance policies for our property and its contents, ensuring we’re protected in the event of a disaster – such as a fire, flood or explosion – but we could still then lose it to cover care home fees . For that reason, Tony believes legal provisions to protect against such situations are vital and should be treated in the same way as regular insurance policies. He added: “What is your biggest fear? For many people, it is losing their home.

“We pay every year to protect our properties from natural disasters, but they are very, very unlikely to happen. It is much more likely that you or your spouse will be taken into a care home and that the local authority will then force the sale of the house to go towards the care home fees.”

There is a common misconception that utilizing legal instruments such as property transfers and trusts are very complex and therefore costly processes. However, Tony says they don’t have to cost a fortune.

“The cost varies from property to property depending upon value and individual circumstances, but it is much less expensive than most people think.”

However, trusts and property transfers are not the only way to protect yourself and your assets. Another option is to take out a Power of Attorney, which will help to protect everything you own, as well as your welfare. A POA will grant authority to someone you trust – usually a spouse or other close relative – to make key decisions regarding your assets and medical care should you ever find yourself incapacitated and unable to do so.

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For a one-off fee, a POA provides long-lasting protection and ensures that the person responsible for taking control has been personally selected by yourself, rather than leaving the decisions to a banker or doctor you have never met.

Get in touch with ILAWS today to arrange a Power of Attorney (POA) and enjoy a 20 per cent saving for a limited time only. But that’s not all. Tony strongly recommends putting a Will in place to ensure maximum protection.

Close up of an elderly couple's handholding seated on a sofa
Protecting your assets can bring peace of mind for you and your family

He added: “Lots of people put off writing a Will because they think it’s complicated, but we make it a simple and inexpensive process at £48. If you own a property, you should 100 percent have a Will.

“Most people think that when you die, all your assets will automatically go to your next of kin. But nowadays, there are many blended families, and a Will makes sure your estate goes to the people you want it to go to.

“Even if you’ve been with your spouse since high school and there are no children from previous marriages, if you don’t have a Will in place, it will take a lot of time, money and hassle to settle your estate.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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