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As average life expectancy continues to increase, more and more of us are likely to require some form of long-term care as we get older. But with a place in a residential care home costing in excess of £25,000 a year, and nursing homes costing more than £35,000 a year, paying for that care is becoming a serious challenge for a growing number of people.

The state may help with some costs, but with the advent of means-testing, anyone with assets of more than £23,000 (including the value of their home) is unlikely to receive any help at all with long-term care requirements.

The big concern for many people therefore, is how to pay for care without selling their home. The good news is that, depending on who else lives in the home, or the type of home ownership (“joint tenants” or “tenants-in-common”), it may be possible to keep at least some assets out of the clutches of the local authority.

For some people however, selling their home may be their only means of paying for long-term residential care. Yet even if you’re forced to sell up and realise your assets, there are still some important options to consider. Simply selling your home and “banking” the proceeds could result in your funds running out, at which point you could find yourself having to move – from the residential home you’ve carefully chosen to an authority-run establishment.

So a good option might be to buy an immediate-needs annuity, which means you won’t have to worry about your funds running out. Plus you’ll also be able to keep any cash left over from the sale of your home as a legacy for your family.

Funding long-term care is an important issue, but it’s a complex one, and the choices you make can have an enormous impact on your future happiness and well-being. So you should always seek expert advice before you make any decisions.

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