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Help with council care home charges.


New member
Oct 19, 2021
Hi all, new to the forum but I hope someone can help me out.

My wife looked after her elderly mother for years, taking her out regularly and visiting her every day.
About 4 years ago she noticed that her mother was getting more forgetful and confused. She was missing paying bills and losing or misplacing her money.
In order to keep things right my wife became a joint account holder with her mother and made sure everything was being paid.
In April 2019 her mother's dementia was so bad that the stress of looking after her put my wife at the risk of a stroke.
She contacted the social work who arranged an emergency admission to a council run care home.
After a week or so it was decided that her mother was to stay in the care home permanently. My wife gave the council all her mum's financial details and told them she could set up a direct debit as she had a joint account with her mother. She has no power of attorney.
It was agreed that most of her mother's pension would pay for her care and the direct debit was set up. The invoices were sent to my wife's address as her mother's council house had been given up.
At the end of April 2020 her mother passed away. My wife closed her bank account and the small amount that was in it went towards her funeral costs.
On the 21st of May 2020 my wife received a bill from the council for over £3000. When she called up about it she was told that her mother had been paying the admission amount and not the correct amount.
My wife asked why it had taken over a year to work this out but was fudged an answer.
My wife told the council that her mother owed them the money not her, and that it wasn't her debt.
We never heard another thing about it until Saturday when a letter arrived saying dear customer you owe us over £3000 and if you don't pay up in 7 days we may pass it on to a debt collection agency.
Two things, my wife wasn't a customer, her mother was, and why the bolt from the blue after nearly 17 months.
My wife has no income, I am the only earner, and my wages are not in the high bracket so we struggle to get by.
I phoned my union legal help line but it wasn't anything they were sure about.
I would like to go to a solicitor but as I said, money is tight.
Does anyone have any idea how my wife stands legally or can lend some advice.
Sorry for the war and peace post but I really don't know where to turn.


Registered User
Sep 25, 2021
Hi Dav55

It sounds like a bit of a muck up from the council but hard to say for certain. The joint account part worries me and is what might be causing the problem.

Have you approached Citizens Advice? or solicitors but (as with anything legal!) it might not be a straightforward answer.

Wonder if this is worth contacting one of the consumer programmes like Rip Off Britain to see if they can help RipOffBritain@bbc.co.uk. I'm not saying the council is trying to rip your wife off but there might be a resolution from the negative media coverage if BBC pick it up.
Last edited by a moderator:


Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
West Hertfordshire
An invoice at the end of a period of residence is not unusual.
How do they account for what she owes?

Who was her mothers executor? its their duty to ensure that all debts ''to the etate'' are paid. in that sense, yes it is probably your wife issue to deal with. I wouldnt assume anyone is tryng to rip any one off


Registered User
Oct 8, 2012
I would recommend speaking to Citizens Advice - I found this on their site -
The person who has died may have left debts, for example, an overdraft on their account or a credit agreement that has not been paid off.

When someone dies you should try to contact all their creditors. You should place a notice in The Gazette on their website, the official public record of legal notices in the UK. This will tell creditors they can make a claim against the estate to pay off the debt. If you don't place a notice and creditors come forward after you've paid out the estate, you might have to pay off the rest of the debt with your own money.

In general, if there is not enough money in the estate of the person who has died to pay their debts their creditors cannot recover the amount still owed from anyone else, including that person's surviving relatives. You should check whether that person had any kind of insurance policy that would pay off any of their debts on their death, for example, a payment protection insurance policy taken out at the same time as a loan."

Here's the link - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/f...the-financial-affairs-of-someone-who-has-died


New member
Feb 5, 2020
Hi Dav55 ...

There are a couple of aspect of your original post that concern me.

You have said that your MIL had no property, so did she start off as a self-funder, i.e. with over £23,250 of savings? If she had less than this (but more than £14,250) then the local authority would have contributed on a sliding scale until she reached that lower limit of £14,250. If she was then fully-funded by the LA, they would take any pensions etc. and leave her with around £25 per week "pocket money".

Do you know what EXACTLY your wife was paying and what it was for? (Possibly a top-up, athough these have to be paid by a third party?) You say that she continued the payments until your MIL passed away and that only left a small amount in your MIL's bank account which "went towards her funeral costs" (so presumably around £5,000 max?). Your MIL was entitled to retain the last £14,250 of her savings, so I don't understand why there was so little left in her account.

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