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Deputyship and Social Services

Scarlet Lady

Registered User
Apr 6, 2021
213
0
Hello, good people.

I am looking for advice to help and support family members who don’t live in the U.K. and who are struggling to support their father who does live here.
The situation is that their father(my cousin) returned to live in the U.K. over 30 years ago. He is now in his late eighties and was living in sheltered accommodation until several recent spells in hospital. He is now showing signs of dementia and has been discharged to a care home pending a care assessment. Everyone involved seems to be in agreement he cannot return to his home. His family are doing their best to work with Social Services here to get the best outcome for him, but they are hampered by a lack of knowledge of both the U.K. legal system and Local Authority practices.
My cousin has not helped anyone by refusing to provide details of his financial affairs to his children and has apparently left an instruction to his solicitor (no idea who that is) that his family should be informed of his death only after his estate has been settled. He seems to have done this in a misguided attempt to free them from emotional and financial responsibility for him.
As you might imagine, this has totally backfired. Social Services are pressing for a financial assessment to be made. It’s very unlikely that my cousin will be self-funding but without any information about his affairs, no one actually knows. His family also have no legal rights of access to his affairs and have explained this to the Local Authority, who I suspect does not believe them.
The family have suggested that the LA should apply for Deputyship, but that’s been batted back to them. SS have said they are not required to do that and have suggested that it is the family’s responsibility to do so. Emails that I’ve seen from SS have been badly worded and as a result, my cousin’s children are now panicking that they may be asked to foot the bill for his care.
I feel that there may be a game of bluff and double bluff going on here. It may well be that there is no legal requirement for SS to apply for Deputyship, but I’m thinking that also applies to the family as well. They are entitled to refuse to do so on the basis that they have lived abroad for most of their lives, have never been British taxpayers and have limited funds to take all this on board. I don’t know if my cousin has capacity, but even if he does, he would certainly refuse to give his agreement to anything.
Sorry to be so long winded, but the family abroad are struggling with the system and I’d like to help. If anyone can point me in the direction of the Deputyship issue, I’d be grateful. Also, what happens when it seems impossible to make a financial assessment? If the LA has ultimate duty of care, do they just have to suck it up and take all responsibility for my cousin if there is no one else willing to do so?
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,208
0
High Peak
This is very tricky! I'd suggest you give the Alzheimer's Society a call and see what they say.

A few observations: no one can be forced to pay for someone else's care, so your cousin's family are not going to get a bill. I don't think the family can be forced to apply for deputyship either. I have to admire your cousin in some ways! His attitude is proving unhelpful but I can appreciate the sentiments!

Sooner or later, someone will want paying - probably SS, who will have to foot the bill for care till they can get money from your cousin. It seems to me the only way they'll get access to whatever funds he may have is to apply for deputyship themselves, so I imagine that's what will happen. If your cousin won't allow anyone access to his financial info for an assessment, I think SS would have to apply to the courts to get access.

I'm sure others will have more advice for you, and do phone the helpline!
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
25,129
0
North Manchester
Agree with @Jaded'n'faded , no one can can be forced to pay for his care.
Ultimately the LA will apply for deputyship if they think he has assets and consider him to have lost capacity.
It would be a drawn out application involving finding where his assets are and obtaining a court order to view them for assessment together with obtaining deputyship to handle them.

If it is decided he has capacity and does not tell the LA about his assets he will be deemed to be self funding which could bring further problems with
creditors taking court actions.

Best action is for the family to cooperate as much as they can , sounds as if not much, and let the LA get on with it else they could get drawn into a legal nightmare.
 

Scarlet Lady

Registered User
Apr 6, 2021
213
0
Thank you, Nitram, this has been my thinking. The last email from SS suggests they are going to do a care assessment towards the end of this month. I don’t know if this has happened yet. I assume assessing capacity will be included in that. They have said that they have already extended the assessment period and have applied for funding for a further two months which will end in mid July. Not sure whose fund the money is coming from!
I agree that Deputyship will be a long torturous process which I’m sure SS will try their best to avoid, which is why they are putting pressure on the family. I do think that my cousin's family need to stick to their guns, co-operate as much as they can and wait to see what happens next. Thanks again for your advice.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
25,129
0
North Manchester
Financial assessments should always follow care assessments, if he refuses to co-operate it's the LA's problem.

They have said that they have already extended the assessment period and have applied for funding for a further two months which will end in mid July. Not sure whose fund the money is coming from!
The LA has a legal duty of care towards vulnerable adults, it will be funding hoping that it can recoup the funds in due course.
 

Mydarlingdaughter

Registered User
Oct 25, 2019
199
0
North East England UK
In my own experience with the LA once they find that there is a family member who can be persuaded to apply for deputyship they will persue that person and try to get them to do it. However, legally a family member is not obliged.
If your cousin does not want them involved for whatever reason, the LA should respect that because legally they are supposed to consult him, even if he lacks capacity.
Ultimately what can happen is the LA will pay for his care tempoerarily and then claim it back off his estate later. Even very lrge sums, but depending on a financial assessment.
The only person who has a legal duty of care is the LA. They are trying to cut costs so they try to make family members believe that said family members are responsible. In England, the only responsible is the LA.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
As others say the family abroad cannot be made to do anything, they can was their hands of him. If the local authority can convince the Court that he doesn't have capacity for financial decisions they will get Deputyship and then they will be able to take control of all his money. If, that is, they can find it.
 

Mydarlingdaughter

Registered User
Oct 25, 2019
199
0
North East England UK
OP... If your cousin lacks capacity his opinions still count and must be taken into account by LA. If they decide to go ahead with deputyship application they have to obtain an independent Mental Health Advocate for him. The social worker can arrange this.
 

Scarlet Lady

Registered User
Apr 6, 2021
213
0
Thanks, everyone for your input. I will pass on all info to my cousin’s family. I think SS will continue to push for the family to get Deputyship, but apart from the fact it’s not what their dad wants, it’s not very practical when they are not in the U.K. and not likely to be in the immediate future. We’ll have to see what transpires.