Review of Paying for Residential Care: A Guide for Private Client Practitioners (Third Edition): Austin Thornton
Published by ARK Group £345.00 Review by Caroline Bielanska, TEP, Solicitor, Independent Consultant, trainer and author
The third edition of this work not only looks different from the second edition, which was then titled ‘Coldrick on Care Home Fees’ but is significantly different. It’s now a more book shelf friendly size and the layout has changed for the better.
Austin Thornton, a Solicitor at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP in Sheffield who specialises in community care and Court of Protection deputyship work has completely rewritten this highly respected tome, necessitated by the introduction of the Care Act 2014 and the repeal of the previous social care law.
As the title states, the book’s focus is confined to paying for residential care as funded by the local authority or the NHS’s local Clinical Commissioning Group. However, it should prove helpful for those who need a better understanding of the care journey for care arranged at home. Although the book is limited to the law in England, Welsh practitioners should not be put off buying this book as many of the issues covered are similar.
The book is extremely useful, taking the reader through the process to being eligible for local authority support and extends to wider issues such as unfair contract terms in care contracts and the threat and action of eviction. The book also has a full section on the legal basis for NHS continuing care eligibility and how to pursue appeals, including tackling claims for clients with dementia, who often struggle to meet the eligibility threshold.
The book extensively covers the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) Regulations 2014, including financial assessment, assessment of income and capital and available disregards, together with the treatment of funeral plans. The book provides a thorough explanation for practitioners who need to understand the correct approach to the valuation of a resident’s interest in the former family home, where part of the interest is held under a will trust. This knowledge is an important armoury for those challenging the local authority in their approach.
It will assist advisors in assessing risk of the use of asset protection trusts. Deprivation of assets and care fee avoidance schemes are comprehensively covered, including methods of enforcement, and the peculiar drafting of section 69 of the Care Act, which limits debts incurred before 1 April 2015 to a three-year limitation period. This has however, now been clarified by the recent High Court judgment Nottingham County Council v Belton  EW Misc 26 (CC), where the court held that sums due to the Council were recoverable under section 69 by virtue of article 3(1) and (2) of the Care Act 2014 (Transitional Provision) Order 2015.
How the local authority treats capital held abroad is suitably covered. It will be a ‘hot topic’ as we approach Brexit with its uncertainty of what this will mean for retirees living in mainland Europe and with many considering returning back home.
The only negative about this book is that for the price, it should have been published as a more robust hardback. After only a few days of use- my copy looks rather battered. That said there is nothing comparable on the market, that is written by a practitioner for practitioners. At a time where firms are restricting the number of books they buy, this book is an investment and anyone working with older or vulnerable clients, regardless of their wealth should buy a copy.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Austin Thornton or any other member of the Health and Care team on 0114 267 5588.
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The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors.