Quote Ref: WS1

Wales promotes council tax discounts for mentally impaired

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People in Wales with severe mental impairments are to be helped with their independent living through the Government’s grant of large discounts and rebates on their Council Tax bill, reported the BBC on the 10th of April.

The report discussed the case of an 88 year-old woman with dementia whose family struggles financially to care for her. Thanks to the Welsh Government’s discounts and rebates on Council Tax, the family has been able to save thousands of pounds on her behalf. 

Also, previous years’ payments are also being reimbursed – to the tune of a much-needed £4,000 which will help pay for the care the lady needs. 

Although many people may not be aware of their rights to relief from Council Tax, the law is quite clear and provides a legal definition of Severe Mental Impairment (SMI) if the person concerned has “a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning” which appears to be permanent and whatever the reason for that impairment.

In the case illustrated by the BBC, the elderly woman’s condition had deteriorated to such a degree that the family had to seek a Power of Attorney (POA) in order to manage her financial affairs on her behalf.

Managing the financial affairs of people with SMI 

If you, too, are a carer for a family member suffering a Severe Mental Impairment and are thinking about a legal Power of Attorney, you might also want to consider setting up a trust fund into which you may transfer property and any life insurance policies. This might prove an invaluable way of managing the person’s financial affairs, including the mitigation of liabilities to pay Inheritance Tax when they die.

Following the transfer of any property, of course, it is imperative – and incumbent on any trustee – to ensure that it remains adequately and properly insured.

The principles of transferring property into a trust and the importance of maintaining insurance for properties being placed or held in trust was a subject discussed in further detail on our website