Deprivation of assets
What is the deprivation of assets?
People are allowed to spend their money as they wish. However, ‘deprivation of assets’ happens when you intentionally reduce your assets to avoid using their value towards paying for your care. We can’t tell you not to give way your assets but can say that by doing so, you are not entitled to receive financial help with care costs from us.
If we decide that you have given away assets deliberately, we can calculate your assessed contribution towards care costs as though you were still in possession of this asset. This will mean that you would be expected to pay as if you had that asset still available to you when in reality, you no longer own the asset.
Being assessed as having deprived yourself of assets can leave you in a very difficult position as we may refuse to assist with meeting your care costs.
Further information on how we assess your contribution to care can be found in our information sheet Paying for care and support services.
What are my assets?
An asset may be money (including savings) or property (e.g. your home). Transfer of assets could include:
- giving away money
- transfer of property ownership
- spending money in a way you wouldn’t usually
- using savings to buy possessions that you know are excluded from the calculations towards contributions
How does the council decide that I have deprived myself of assets?
To decide whether deliberate deprivation of assets has taken place, we will look at the timing of the gift and what was happening in your life at that time. If it’s decided that the need for future care could be foreseen and that avoiding a charge for care services was a significant motivation behind the gifts, you will be deemed to have intentionally reduced your assets to avoid them being used in calculations towards your cost of care.
If we decide you have deliberately deprived yourself of assets, we may try to recover any debt and do the following:
- treat you as if you still own the asset (known as having notional capital)
- recover the value of the asset from the person receiving the gift
- apply for a judgement debt through Dorset Council
- ask the Court of Protection to consider whether a person appointed as Power of Attorney or Deputy has acted in the best interests of the person by making financial gifts
You should ensure that you receive independent legal and/or financial advice before utilising your assets or gifting them.
Can I ever make financial gifts?
Deliberate deprivation does not occur in every situation. Every case is judged on its own particular facts and an action that could be considered in one case, may not result in the same decision in another case. The final decision will depend on circumstances, intention and timing.
Inheritance tax rules mean that people are able to legally give away assets to avoid paying Inheritance Tax upon their death. If such gifts are made at a time when the likely need for care services could be foreseen, then we could decide that this action constitutes deliberate deprivation of assets.
There is no time scale beyond which we can’t look at gifts made. The decision is always made based on intention, timing and expectation of future care needs.
Can I appeal against the decision?
You can appeal against our decisions through our complaints procedure.
How do I make comments or complain about Dorset Council?
Dorset Council is committed to providing quality services to you, your carers and family. We welcome any comments as this helps us understand what parts of our service people like.
If you are unhappy about the service you have received and want to make a complaint, please speak to a social care worker or contact Dorset Council and ask for a copy of our complaints leaflet.
You can write to us at:
Business Reply Licence number
Dorset Council, Colliton Park,
Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1XJ.
Or by telephone on 01305 221061
If you don’t want to talk directly to us, you can contact Healthwatch Dorset, an independent organisation that represents the views and wishes of people who use adult social care services in Dorset.
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You can find further information about adult social care and support services provided by Dorset Council at: