West Berkshire Council

Adult Social Care - Planning How to Pay for Future Care

Independent Financial Advisors (IFA) and how they can help in planning how to pay for your care

Accessing quality, specialist financial advice is important to help you plan how you'll pay for your care arrangements, both now and in the future. Paying for care is a long-term commitment and you need to be sure that you can afford the arrangements you put in place. This means good financial advice and support is key to making the best use of what money you have available.

West Berkshire Council is not able to give you financial advice about your care options - we encourage everyone who needs care to talk to an independent financial adviser for impartial and specialist support.

You may also find the pdf icon Paying for Long Term Care [383kb] booklet useful - it's been developed by a group of public organisations and charities to help people make better and more informed decisions about paying for care.

Why go to a financial adviser?

Even if you can comfortably afford to pay for care now, thinking short-term is rarely a good idea when it comes to dealing with something as important as care. Financial advisers are experts at helping people get the information they need to make good decisions about their care in the long-term.

Independent financial advisers are impartial, and aren't under pressure from a company or organisation to recommend one solution over another for you - they are there to give the best advice possible after an assessment of your situation.  

Planning ahead can help avoid problems, such as having to move care home because you run out of money.
If you have savings or assets, an independent adviser can help you get the most out of them.

What to look for in an adviser

Not all advisers are equally qualified, so you need one that has a clear understanding of long-term care planning.

Things to bear in mind:

  1. Ask your adviser if they have a "CF8" or "CeLTCI" qualification. These qualifications show that your adviser understands the issues that need to be kept in mind when it comes to funding long-term care. Advisers qualified in this area are often called "specialist care-fees advisers".
  2. Some advisers are also held to account by an official body, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that they stick to a code of conduct and ethics, and take responsibility for recommending different products that might help.  
  3. Even if they are regulated by the FCA, it's useful to ask whether the adviser is an 'independent financial adviser' (also known as an IFA).  IFAs can offer the full range of financial products and providers available, whilst some only offer 'restricted advice'  focussing on a limited selection of products and/or providers. Restricted advisers and firms are not allowed to describe the advice they offer as 'independent' (though they are independent of West Berkshire Council).
  4. Something else to bear in mind is the difference between 'guidance' (also called an 'information only' or 'non-advice' service) and 'advice'.  If you buy a financial service or product after receiving 'guidance' rather than 'advice', it means you might not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which are bodies that can help you get your money back if things go wrong.

What will it cost?

How much you pay will depend on things like how complicated your situation is, and the level of advice and types of products an adviser needs to recommend.

In some cases you could pay between £75 and £250 an hour for their services, so it's important to make sure you choose the right adviser for you.  Ask up-front how much their advice is going to cost, and whether it's a fixed fee, or based on the time they spend working for you.

Advisers operate in different ways, so you could always ask your adviser about splitting their fee into a number of instalments, or paying an hourly fee at the end of each consultation.

What if someone lacks mental 'capacity' to make decisions?

Sometimes a person in need of care may lack 'capacity' to make decisions about their finances on their own. Under some circumstances control over these decisions can be passed to someone else.  Our webpage on Managing the Finances of Someone Unable to do so Themselves has helpful information.

Where to find an adviser

  • The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) hold a register of accredited advisers that have qualifications in financial advice, including long term care funding - search their directory for a suitably qualified adviser close to you
  • Paying for Care is a website designed by a non-profit organisation to help people make more informed decisions about arranging and paying for their long-term care, and has lots of useful information that can help
  • The Money Advice Service is an independent service set up by the government providing a free and impartial advice service - you can get in touch by phone, or chat online with an adviser
  • West Berkshire Citizens Advice also provides financial advice
  • The Social Care Info Point (SCIP) lists a number of organisations offering independent financial advice

Do you still need help?

Get in touch with us and tell us what you're looking for.


Who To Contact

Our contact centre for Adult Social Care (formerly our 'Access for All' team)

01635 503050