Aged care for those on the land
Arranging aged care can be stressful, but when it involves someone who is a farmer, unique circumstances apply. If your loved one is a farmer on his or her own land, would you know how best to help?
Farmers – often a husband and wife team – may continue working well past retirement age because farming isn’t just a business – it’s a life.
As a family business, the farm might be passed down to the next generation so when considering aged care, questions over whether to retain the assets or to sell them can be daunting and emotional. It’s possible that the options available will be limited by the cost and level of care required.
Aged care costs
Looking at aged care in general, costs vary considerably and residents may be asked to pay the following:
Daily fees. The basic daily fee is set and regulated by the federal government to cover meals, laundry, cleaning, etc. An additional means-tested daily fee may also apply.
Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD). This is subject to the resident’s assets and income and is fully refundable. A resident may choose to pay the RAD in full or in combination with Deposit Accommodation Payments (DAP) applying to any unpaid portion. RADs are usually paid from the proceeds of selling the family home. When the family home is a farm, it can get complicated.
Back to the farmers
According to the Australian Government, assets are defined as, “Most of the things you own…” Although different rules apply to properties greater than two hectares of which the owner is putting to effective use, eg. farming. The buildings, equipment, fencing, livestock, etc on the property are considered assets, and their assessment may deem the farmer wealthy, potentially increasing the cost of care.
One of the most pressing issues farmers face when considering aged care is what to do with the business itself. If the decision is made to dispose of the assets by selling or gifting, alternative problems may arise.
Seek professional guidance
A financial planner can help determine the most appropriate course of action while considering the family’s plans for the future of the farm and its assets.
When making arrangements on behalf of an older relative you must ensure that the appropriate Powers of Attorney are in place. Speak to your solicitor; or ask us for a referral.
This is an emotional decision for anyone, but when your home is your work and you’ve worked hard to keep it over generations, deciding what to do next is just that little bit harder.