Extra financial help for carer?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by PollyP, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. PollyP

    PollyP Registered User

    Nov 1, 2013
    21
    Berkshire
    I wonder if anyone can give me any advice or help me from their own experience. My brother gave up work and moved in to look after my mother, who has dementia, nearly 2 years ago. He gets the carer's allowance, and I also 'give' him a similar amount per month from my mother's money, using my Power of Attorney. I made this decision based on the annual allowance which people can give away without any implications for tax. This gives him an income which is just about adequate for everyday needs and expenses.

    The problem is that he has left his own house, which is now falling into disrepair, and has no savings to carry out repairs. He is debating whether to sell it but it is a big decision, and he can't rent it out in its current state. Also he has limited time to visit it and check on it.

    My mother has savings and in her younger days she was very generous with my brother and other family members; would I be justified in making him a further one-off gift or loan from my mother's money? I help with care and respite where I can but I am very aware that he is bearing the brunt of the care and don't want to see him losing out. The alternative is to make him a personal loan from my own savings, but my husband would not be too happy about this, especially as my mother is in a better situation financially.

    We have another brother who would need to be consulted but I don't think he would object to a reasonable gift or loan; I'm more concerned about the legal aspect and any implications for the future.

    I know we are in a more fortunate position than many people where there is no spare cash at all but it is a situation which is worrying me a lot and I would welcome any thoughts.
     
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,731
    Hi there
    i can't help you with the loan info but others may be able to or the Citizens Advice Bureau but you do receive higher rate Attendance Allowance for your mum don't you? just checking as it makes a bit of difference and there is also a council tax exemption that you can apply for.
     
  3. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,045
    Staffs
    Hi PollyP,

    In the future can you ever see the need for the Local Authority to get involved with paying for your Mother's care or do her savings and the value of the house mean that she will always be self funding?
    :)
     
  4. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,743
    Female
    London
    There are two things to consider: 1. possible deprivation of assets and 2. someone shopping you to the OPG for alleged mismanagement of money.

    1. That would only rear its head if the LA ever got involved in your mother's care. If she has enough to last her a lifetime, don't worry about it. Besides, gifts are allowed if they are in line with previous spending.

    2. Who would inform the OPG? If all relatives are in agreement then that shouldn't happen, so make sure everyone has all the facts and agrees. You can of course call the OPG and ask their advice but really, they normally only get involved if someone makes a complaint.
     
  5. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    8,088
    Yorkshire
    Hi PollyP
    I do wonder why it's taken 2 years to think of sorting out the house - but I'm just nosey - I guess if the house is repaired and rented out, your brother will have a regular income and could even set something aside each month to slowly pay back a loan

    Whatever you decide to do, please just be absolutely sure that all siblings totally understand and are fully in agreement; maybe write down what is agreed on and all have a copy - it's sad but true that these kinds of financial arrangements can lead to disagreements and rifts when someone has thought one thing and another interpreted it differently
     
  6. PollyP

    PollyP Registered User

    Nov 1, 2013
    21
    Berkshire
    Thanks for your reply - yes, Mum gets the full Attendance Allowance and we know about the council tax exemption though I'm glad of the reminder because we've not yet applied.
     
  7. PollyP

    PollyP Registered User

    Nov 1, 2013
    21
    Berkshire
    It's difficult to tell - there is enough to pay for her care for quite a few years and as she is 92 it is unlikely to get used up, but you just don't know, do you? Just to add that in case I sound a bit mercenary, my brother really wans to care for my mother himself for as long as possible as he does really care about her, and feels that she will have a better quality of life than in a care home.
     
  8. PollyP

    PollyP Registered User

    Nov 1, 2013
    21
    Berkshire
    Thanks for your reply. Believe me, it's not that we've only just thought about it, it's more that we are not very good at taking decisions and have found this one particularly tricky. The original idea was to rent the house out, but even 2 years ago it needed some work and my brother had no funds. I'm just get a bit worried about it - more so than he is. It's good advice from you and others about putting things in writing.

    Just to add that we want to do what is morally right as well as legally. I don't find it easy making decisions about someone else's money, but on the other hand my mother would never have wanted to see any of us making sacrifices to look after her; I'm trying to make the decisions which she would have made if she still had the capacity. I think my brother will just let his house fall down if I don't do something to help him.
     
  9. arielsmelody

    arielsmelody Registered User

    Jul 16, 2015
    515
    Does your brother have a particular attachment to this house? It makes sense for him to own his own property, so that at least he can be sure of having a roof over his head in the future, but if this house can't be rented out it sounds like more of a liability than an asset. Would it be an option for him to sell the house as it is, and then buy a property that is suitable for him to rent out and would give him an income while he is caring for your mum?
     
  10. Lavender45

    Lavender45 Registered User

    Jun 7, 2015
    1,598
    Liverpool
    Hi PollyP

    Can I just say what a lovely sister you are caring about your brother's financial situation and trying to find the best way to help him. I wish my sister was even half as caring, or had just a tiny amount of your insight and compassion.

    Lavender x
     
  11. Selinacroft

    Selinacroft Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    936
    I presume if your brother was not providing care , then you would be employing a care agency or care home at a significant cost. It would not be unreasonable to pay your brother a living wage for the hours he cares , rather than just the equivalent of carers allowance which we all know is no where near enough.
    If you want to justify it later, decide how many hours of care he provides each week - 40 or whatever and up his "wage"significantly making a record of any such payments and reasons for them. From what I can make out this would not be regarded as deprivation of any capital and would be separate to the £3K gift allowance to each family member for inheritance tax purposes. I would strongly advise against your brother selling his own property. If any assets are to be liquidated it should be your mother's and not your brother's or your own.
    I second what Lavender says!
     
  12. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    If your brother is getting Carer's Allowance he might also be entitled to claim Income Support. There are not many categories of people who can claim this these days but I believe it is still available for carers.
     
  13. PollyP

    PollyP Registered User

    Nov 1, 2013
    21
    Berkshire
    I think that is a good idea, though it would take a bit of sorting out. It had occurred to me in the past but I'd forgotten. I tend to be a bit sentimental about houses but I'm not so sure that he is.
     
  14. PollyP

    PollyP Registered User

    Nov 1, 2013
    21
    Berkshire
    Lavender
    Thank you for that - you've brought tears to my eyes. I suppose I always thought it was my 'place' to look after my parents (eldest child and only daughter) but when it became necessary it was not as easy as I'd thought to give up other responsibilities. My brother had fewer existing commitments, and also has a much better temperament for caring, so he has ended up doing the lion's share, but not without a personal cost, and I feel that the least I can do is support him the best I can, and make sure I appreciate all that he's doing. We have actually become very close since we've needed to care for Mum, and this is one very positive aspect of the 'nightmare scenario' we have found ourselves in over the last couple of years. I hope we manage to keep the family relationships good however things work out. Wishing you all the best in your own situation.
     
  15. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,045
    Staffs
    You do not sound mercenary at all, either of you.:)

    The reason I asked about always being self funding is if your Mother needs Local Authority help in the future there may be questions asked about the money you are paying your brother. Depending on the amount it may affect his eligibility for carers allowance and any other benefits. Your Mother may also become liable as an "employer".

    As for the loan I see no reason why not as long as it on the understanding it is paid back. Your Brother's house is going to worth more if he sells it or the loan paid back by rental income.

    As a family you should discus what happens to your Mothers house if she needs to go into a Care Home or if she dies. Will your Brother want to remain in the house? Will others want any inheritance? Your Brothers future is quite important but with his role as a carer those thoughts probably don't crop up very often.

    :)
     
  16. PollyP

    PollyP Registered User

    Nov 1, 2013
    21
    Berkshire
    Thanks to all for replies and general support. It's difficult to know who to ask for advice, but I do find that it helps to come on the forum if something is really worrying me. Best wishes to all.
     

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