When do I need independent financial advice?
Knowing the best way to fund your care can be very complicated and confusing. There will be times when you need to get financial advice which is impartial and independent of the local authority so you make the right decisions. For example:
- where there are a number of options available and you need advice on which one to choose, bearing in mind that often we are not allowed to recommend one.
- when there is potential conflict between the our interests and yours, such as advice on how assets are taken into consideration as part of your financial assessment.
- when you are about to enter into a legal agreement. For example, we can provide information about the consequences of entering into a deferred payment agreement (DPA), but cannot advise you on whether you should enter into it.
- where you want advice on specific financial products to get the most out of your assets; this would probably need ‘regulated’ advice.
What is an independent or ‘regulated’ financial adviser?
Independent financial advice is available from a number of sources. Some services are free and provided by not-for-profit organisations, such as:
- Money Advice Service
- Citizen’s Advice Bureau
- Age UK
- The Society of Later Life Advisers – helps you and your family find trusted financial advisers who understand financial needs in later life.
There are also more formal ‘independent financial advisers’ (IFA), who you may need to pay for their advice. They can give you advice on financial matters and recommend suitable financial products.
Please note that:
- Some financial advisers are ‘restricted’, which means they can only sell you certain types of products.
- IFAs have to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and must meet their strict requirements and standards.
- Many IFAs are not experts in social care, and there are few products available for the various financial changes of Care Act about how to plan for your care.
We cannot recommend specific IFAs or provide a list of them, but you can search online for “IFAs in Warwickshire” or “Independent Financial Advisers in Warwickshire”.
Can I get help if I have difficulties getting or understanding advice?
If you don’t have family or friends to help you, and you think getting or understanding independent financial advice may be difficult, we may be able to provide you with a free ‘independent advocate’.
They can support or advocate on your behalf to ensure you have thought about the best way of supporting and representing yourself, with regard to your well-being and interests. This will help you to get the most out of any independent financial advice.
Other situations may mean you should have an independent advocate, such as when you need a long stay in a hospital or care home, or if there is a disagreement over your involvement.