When the client isn’t always right

When the client isn’t always right

I recently received a call from a prospective client about aged care financial advice. The opening comment was ‘my brother insisted I speak with you, but I don’t understand why. We’ve got it under control’.

As the call progressed, it became clear…the person on the other end of the phone had the bull by the tail, was missing some information and their understanding of their loved one’s situation was entirely back-to-front! Oh dear, that’s not a great starting point for making good financial decisions.

After trying to correct their understanding of legislation and explain the potential fees the family would be facing I was told I was wrong because somewhat miraculously, the father is ‘special’ and apparently (according to the son) usual rules relating to Centrelink and aged care won’t relate to him!

Apparently, the father won’t need to be paying either a RAD (refundable accommodation deposit), a DAP (daily accommodation payment) or a MTCF (means tested care fee)  either; even though the assets disclosed to me means he’ll end up being liable for all of those fees the family think he doesn’t have to pay. The aged care facility has supposedly told them the fees are only likely to go up by $50 per week following the sale of the family home. What disturbs me is it’s illegal for an aged care facility to be providing financial advice, and yet the family are relying on the information provided!

Oh, and apparently the father can also simply give his assets to his kids without penalty. WRONG! Centrelink will have something to say about that! Penalties can apply for up to five years.

By the end of the call I was scratching my head and questioning how it was possible for the person on the other end of the phone to be so wrong, yet still not listen to reason.

In case you’re wondering why I’m raising this…I have almost nine years of experience in aged care advice. With my first case being for a family member I understand how difficult it can be emotionally, as well as financially. Since then I’ve helped many clients avoid costly financial mistakes. I was rather bemused to be told by the ill-informed person on the other end of the phone that everything my clients have been benefiting from for years was wrong!!!

I’m really worried for that family, they could be in for a rather nasty surprise sooner rather than later with fees much more than they’ve bargained for.

For those of you who are keen to avoid nasty financial surprises, and would prefer to minimise fees associated with your loved one’s aged care requirements give me a call. Remember, first consults are free.

Talk soon

Gayle

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