Avoiding nursing home fees

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by rjmcl, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. rjmcl

    rjmcl Registered User

    Oct 2, 2006
    4
    Aberdeen
    My mums is becoming increasingly demented and it seems likely that soon we will no longer be able to care for her in her own home. Several months ago I obtained power of attorney and am now considering how we can (legally) avoid selling mums home to finance this.
    She has scrimped and saved all her life to leave 'a good inheritance' and it would break her heart to know that all her savings were going to nursing home fees.

    As disposal / transfer of her assets now would be clearly for avoidance of home fee liability, is there anything I can do ( as her advocate) to prevent / minimise it at this late stage? I thought that I could buy her a nice Porsche or sell her house to myself at a very generous discount.

    I do take my responsibilities as advocate seriously, and if our whole inheritence has to go in order to look after mum in a home - so be it. But if there were any way of avoiding this, moving her assets and getting the government to shoulder its resposibilities....

    Richard
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    #2 jenniferpa, Oct 2, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2006
    This is going to sound very grumpy but..

    exactly who is going to pay for this if you get "government to shoulder its resposibilities..."?

    I can tell you who: you and people like my 89 year old mother who is still paying taxes, that's who.

    There are many people on this site who are struggling to meet the financial demands of caring for a dementia sufferer. Long term illness is expensive, and the artifical dividing line of "health care" and "social care" is iniquitous, and I have every sympathy for those who for whatever reason, don't have the savings to pay for this.

    My mother isn't delighted to know that the money she saved during her working life is going to pay for her care, but she's even less delighted to have dementia. At least the money she has saved is going some way to ensure that she is comfortable and safe.

    In an ideal world every nursing home would be wonderful, and we'd all pay the same. It's not an ideal world - some social service funded placements are wonderful, some are not, some privately funded placements are wonderful, some are not. If you have savings, though, you have some choices that may not be available to those without. Be grateful.

    Jennifer

    Edit to add

    I do not believe it is possible at this stage in the game to remove your mother's assets from the "pot" However, you might care to look at long-term care annuties. Although these are akin to gambling (i.e. how long will she live) they may offer an option.
     
  3. mumof3

    mumof3 Registered User

    Feb 6, 2006
    82
    Hi Richard

    We are in similar situations and in the same geographical neck of the woods. It is also a question of when my MIL will need to go into a nursing home rather than if. We are not so self-sacrificing as to have her stay with us even if we did have the space. My husband is an only child and my MIL has always said that her home will be his inheritance. This seems increasingly unlikely as she is only 62 and is likely to have many years ahead of her. She is managing with the help of carers coming in several times daily but this may not be possible a year down the line.

    Like you, my husband has POA for my MIL's financial affairs. We have not yet made any formal enquiries to the local council but did think that it might be possible to rent out my MIL's home when the time came, under the deferred payment scheme. We recognise all her remaining capital and monthly income would go towards the nursing home fees but we would want to try and retain her home to allow her grandchildren some inheritance as she always planned.
     
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,577
    Kent
    When my mother went into a nursing home, I believed her money was hers until she died, and I had no claim on it.
    I had an EPOA and with it promised to act in my mother`s best interest.
    All the money from the sale of her house went towards her care as she was in the NH for 7 years.
    I do feel nursing care should be available on the NHS, for if she had been in hospital, she would not have had to pay.
    But I really don`t believe children have a claim on their parent`s money while they live and need looking after.
    Moaning about avoiding NH fees is plain greed.
     
  5. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    My mum is in a nursing home getting exactly the same level of care as those who are funded by the local authority. The local authority actually pays less for these residents than the fully funded residents pay for themselves to the tune of approximately £125 per week! Therefore not only are the self funded residents paying for their own places they are actually subsidising the places for the local authority funded residents.

    Her savings have not increased the choices available to her. I realise that for some people it may increase their options but I just wanted to point this out.
     
  6. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    My mum has been in residential care for nearly 2 years and we have not sold her house and, for various reasons, have no intention of doing so. Your mum's house does not necessarily have to be sold at this stage. You could ask for her to be put on a deferred payment scheme whereby the local authority pays her nursing home fees and an interest free debt is accrued. I believe it starts accruing interest soon after the death of the owner. You could also think about renting her home out to go towards the nursing home fees although this would then be counted as income and taken into account when a financial assessment is made.

    You cannot really legally 'move her assets' although I do sympathise with your position on this. I hope other answers have not scared you off as this site is very helpful in all aspects of having a loved one with dementia.
     
  7. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    715
    All of our parents have paid their share into the NHS /National Insurance which promised care from cradle to the grave

    Tony Blair also lambasted the Conservatives and promised free care homes in his push to get elected 12 years ago

    As already said self funders are subsidising those whose fees are paid by the Local Authority and that is iniquitous .............it means the prudent are being double taxed

    Since T Blair has no problem finding millions to put in the hands of benefit cheats/illegal immigrants and to fund wars in Iraq and Afghanistan its high time Charity began at home and all dementia and other long term sick were treated fairly

    sorry but on no account do I consider that any ordinary person with dementia etc who has worked hard all their life and goe without in order to buy a home or have a rainy day nest egg should be robbed of their life savings to pay for care and most certainly should not be subsidisig those who have squandered everything at bingo or down the pub

    my widowed Mother worked 20 hours a day at 3 jobs to bring us up in the 50s when there was no social security/single parent benefits and it took her 50 yrs to save the deposit for a small bungalow ..............so why on earth should she have to subsidise those who were not subjected to such hardships but enjoyed booze and gambling instead
     
  8. Claire

    Claire Registered User

    Mar 31, 2004
    88
    Coventry
    Helena

    Perhaps you could moderate your sweeping statements. I take exception to your charge that everyone who is supported by their Local Authority spent their money on booze and gambling. You have no idea of other people's circumstances and perhaps you'd like to think sometimes before posting more bitter diatribes.
     
  9. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I think this is good advice as, while such things may get our own personal beefs out in public, they don't really serve any other purpose.

    Boy, if I didn't self censor my own beefs about a huge range of things, this place would be flooded on a host of my own betes noires!
     
  10. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Richard,

    I note that you live in Scotland. You must be aware that personal care, as well as medical care is free here, leaving only the 'hotel' element to pay. I know it's still a considerable sum, but much less than in England.

    Perhaps if you were to sell your mother's house and take advice on investment, you would be able to fund the fees without touching your mum's capital?

    Skye
     
  11. rjmcl

    rjmcl Registered User

    Oct 2, 2006
    4
    Aberdeen
    Richard

    Thanks for your replies. Some amost qualify as support! I agree I am open to the charge of greed, I would prefer to have the money stay in the family to go to me, my siblings and mums grandchildren rather than pay for something which would be provided in any case. It seems the nursing home quality of care is independent of the source of income (in some peoples experience). If her quality of life was improved by spending her money - of course I would spend it on her. I will spend mine as well. I'm not a monster

    Its an interesting reflection on the value of saving for provision in old age. My parents both worked all their lives, and mums inheritance is not great - about 7 years worth of nursing home fees! Others in need of care may have little or no financial cushion - due to their own behaviours or due to no fault of their own. The variety of circumstances is too wide to make assumpions.

    We are in the process of getting home care support for her, the strain on my wife and I is increasing as mums dementia increases. We both have jobs to go to so that we can pay taxes and help support other unfortunates in nursing homes.

    Just to further depress my standing in the forum - what if I (acting POA) did sell the house to myself at current market value. Would the local authority have any comeback in later years? My thinking is that a house with a resident demented little old lady will have very low market value.
     
  12. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I recommend that you speak to the AS legal expert before you embark even on thinking about this. My belief is that you would require another person, unrelated, to act as a representative for her in the sale of the property. You could not simply do it. Also I assume the POA is registered with the Court of Protection? That needs to be done if you wish to sell/buy.

    It is a legal minefield and you need proper legal advice, not simply the thoughts of people on TP. I have managed to sell the house held in my and my wife's joint names, but had to appoint a Trustee to look after her interests. I then bought a different place - still in our joint names, to protect her equity. That would not be a problem with your case, but you need legal advice. Try Sara at AS.
     
  13. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    715
    i did not say everyone who receives their care home fees from the local authority has spent everything on booze or gambling

    Just that theres no reason whatever for the prudent who have never enjoyed such luxuries should subsidise others who have

    Its totally and utterly unfair that the fees are different and higher for self funders in order to subsidise others
     
  14. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    As you can see, Richard, this is one area where we all have a different opinion, and we will have to agree to disagree.

    I suppose this is akin to to tax avoidance versus tax evasion. It is perfectly legal to arrange one's finances so that there is a reduced tax liability, while it can bring a jail sentence if you attempt the latter. Assuming what your talking about is avoidance rather than evasion, I can understand your position (not necessarily agree with it, but understand it). As Bruce highlighted above, this is a particularly difficult area when you are managing someone else's finances - you not only need to avoid financial impropriety, you need to avoid the appearance of financial impropriety. I have no idea how the system works in Scotland with regard to financial oversight, but your proposal definitely wouldn't fly in England - not only would you have a problem with the court of protection, the LA would quite possibly come after you as well.

    Even if there was a sure fire way to protect your Mother's assets, I doubt you'll find anyone volunteering that information in a public forum - loopholes that are publicized are loopholes that get closed. If you want to "push the envelope" with regard to avoidance, you're really going to need independent financial and legal counsel. Of course, that counsel is going to cost you money, perhaps eating up any savings you are likely to make.

    You mention siblings - this is also an area where you can have problems with finances. If you are all in agreement, that's wonderful, but money does tend to bring out the worst in people, as many posters here can attest, which is another reason to be as fiscally responsible as possible.

    In my first post I said I was going to sound grumpy, which I did, but this is something I feel very strongly about. However, this is a forum which encompasses a wide range of opinions and which offers a great deal of support, even if we don't all agree all the time, so don't let some peoples (i.e. mine) initial response put you off.

    Jennifer
     
  15. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    It seems that this is one area where there are widely opposing views. I can see both sides of the argument but I do believe it is wrong that people in poor health should have to pay for their own care. I also resent being portrayed as a 'greedy child'.

    I would just ask those who are in favour of people paying for their own nursing care to imagine this scenario. You are run over by a bus and taken to hospital. The medics tell you that you will have to stay there for a month and as you have a few bob in the bank they would like you to pay £2500 towards the hospitals costs. Someone else was also hit by the same bus but they don't have as much money in the bank as you and are only renting their home (paid for by housing benefit). That being the case the local authority will pay for their care and it will only cost £2000.

    As far as I am concerned dementia is the bus that hit my mother and I don't see why she should be treated any differently than someone who is admitted to hospital with serious injuries and unable to care for themselves.
     
  16. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    noelphobic

    Well said!!

    Give me the choice between an inheritance and a cure for Mum and I know which one I would choose.

    Kathleen
     
  17. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    I couldn't agree with you more Kathleen, but sadly none of us have that option.

    I also feel that people with dementia and their families have been robbed already by the loss of their health and quality of life. The fact that the state then adds legalised robbery of their assets just adds insult to injury.
     
  18. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    1,370
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi All

    I have given this a great deal of thought since the first post. And I must admit to being a bit frightened of the responses I will probably get to my opinion.

    But here goes with my parents story. My dad was serving in the RAF when he married my mum. They didn't own their own home, but lived in 'rooms' near the base where dad was stationed just outside Oxford. He was a Warrant Officer Navigator.

    When WW11 started my mum, and my six month old brother returned home to Wales to live with my gran.

    My dad's plane was shot down over Germany, he was a POW for 4 years. His is an incredible story of bravery and endurance. He escaped several times, and was recaptured. He was at Stalagluft 111 and Colditz. On his return home he had to leave the RAF because of his physical state. He accepted his lot, and retrained and got a good job, they lived with my nan.

    My parents were eventually allocated a Council House. I came along in 19?? . They scrimped and saved (I remember my mother counting out spoonfuls of sugar to see if the bag would last the week), she didnt have a new coat for quite a few years, she made all my clothes, all this to save for the deposit on a house.

    They eventually bought their own home, but struggled to pay the mortgage and upkeep of their home, but they were proud, they had made it, they were home owners.

    Both my parents worked all their lives, and brought up two children. My dad died 23 years ago, less than a year after he retired. He never enjoyed fantastic health, again, due to the treatment he had as a POW, he was in and out of hospital all his life. He NEVER complained. My parents never had a holiday abroad, never had a new car, they got by, but they owned their own home, as I mentioned previously, they were proud of this. They were not big on going out, once in a while they went to the cinema, or for a meal, but that's it. Neither had a private pension.

    Two years ago mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers, I have already shared with you our journey through this.

    Mum moved into a NH last week, and her little flat is now up for sale to pay for her NH fees, living on a pension, she has no savings (except for funeral costs!!), always the planner my mum.

    Oh how I wish they had stayed in that Council House. They could have had many a happy holiday, maybe abroad. My dad could have had that shiney new car he always wanted and never got. Why oh why did they scrimp to pay a mortgage, they could have had a much better life together, and maybe dad could have retired earlier if they could have afforded to save a little nest egg.

    My point it, they could have had a better life, rather than scrimp and save to buy their own home, only for it to be sold to pay for mum's care. I know mum's home is no use to her now, but I just feel sad about what might have been.

    Mum has settled better than we could hope for, and yes, I know, its early days.

    What am I doing tomorrow? taking mum back to the flat because she wants to say goodbuy.

    I just wish we could have shut it up and sold it when she really would not have been aware of what was happening, that home stands for so much to her.

    I know my parents story reflects thousands of others, but in my own way, I just wanted to share how sad I feel about having to sell her home now. I do think the system is unfair.

    Regards to all
    Cate
     
  19. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Cate

    Your parents story is an inspiration, you are obviously and quite rightly very proud of them both.

    I hope your Mum won't be too upset at saying goodbye to her home tomorrow. Luckily, Mum seems to have no idea she ever lived anywhere else other than the EMI home she is now in.

    Mum and Dad, too scrimped and scraped to buy their home and were so proud of it, especially as they were the going to be able to leave something for their children and grandchildren.

    It is cruel that now, having lost so much, independence, memories, abilities and quality of life, they are classed as not worthy of NHS care, when others with other physical illnessess are given that service without question. It is as if they don't matter any more.

    Kathleen
     

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