Maintaining the roof above your head

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by Brucie, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    I've put this in the Early Onset part of TP because it is probably more of an issue for families who experience Alzheimer's and other dementias at an early age.

    I imagine that most such families will have partners who are joint owners of the family home.

    Let's assume that is the case.

    Where a partner is carer for the sufferer then their job is likely to go down the tubes, and that causes financial challenges, one of which is paying the mortgage, another is maintenance of the structure of the house.

    Where a care home is involved, there may be a call on the resources of the sufferer, and the home is not one of those as long as the partner continues to live there.

    If the partner moves to a different house, then half of the value of the property on the sale becomes an active resource for the sufferer, and may be taken for payment of home fees, etc, if these are due. This makes the purchase of another property for the partner a difficult issue, as half the value of one's current property may not buy very much.

    If the partner wants to stay in the family home, then the maintenance of the structure may become a problem.

    So here is the issue....

    One of the first things one should have done early on is set up an Enduring Power of Attorney for the person who has the dementia.

    One of the terms of the EPA is that the person nominated to sign on behalf of the sufferer is to ensure that the resources of the sufferer are maintained, and maximised.

    Given that the half portion of the value of a house represents possibly the largest resource that the sufferer has, albeit only recoverable at the time of a sale of the property, it seems that the person who holds the EPA should be able to use part of the sufferer's other funds [bank account] to maintain the house, and therefore their equity. Specifically, any major bills might be split 50/50 as is the title of the house.

    That would seem logical but we all know that logic plays little part in any of this. Does anyone have any experience of the situation, or knowledge of the legalities regarding the EPA?
  2. susie

    susie Registered User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Hello Brucie
    I've been talking to a solicitor about a similar thing. If you own a house jointly and you die before the AD sufferer,leaving them everything,this will bump up their personal savings and this could mean they have to pay full costs for all nursing,care home etc.
    He advised me that if you are joint tenants,you can revike the joint tenancy without the other person being able to object. Having done this,you then rewrite your will leaving your share of the house to who you want ,in my case the children with the proviso that David stays in it through his life time. He adviseed this to be done as soon as possible as you never know what may happen tu us carers!
    I also looked into the problem of inheriting a large sum of money . If a relative is likely to leave a large sum of money to your AD sufferer. my solicitor advised that it's worth having a delicate word with them to leave it to a discretionary fund for the AD sufferer. It looks better if you add a few names to the trust fund as well so it aoppears to be for a few people. The person leaving the money then writes a private letter to all concerned saying that the fund is really for the person who has AD. This letter has no legal standing and is just a statement of wishes. The money can then be used to buy things to help the the sufferer but is out of reach for a financial assessment.
    Forgive me if I'm teaching my granny-oops sorry grandad to suck eggs but this is all new to me and I thought it might be useful for other new people.

  3. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Susie

    yes I've made us tenants in common already for inheritance purposes. I have to say this was mostly done because, in the event of my croaking before Jan does, I wanted to make sure that none of my share goes as per her will, which was made years ago in favour of some of her relatives who have totally ignored her since hearing of her condition and have offered her [and me] no support at all.

    Would that I could change her will but that can't be done. In some of the emotional depths I reached this was all actually helpful as it gave me a strong reason to ensure I didn't pop me clogs early.

    The issue is really one of whether, in maintaining the structure of the house, and therefore my wife's equity, her money can be used in part payment of the required work.

    I've had advice that this can be done, but was wondering whether anyone had walked this path before.
  4. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004

    Re the issue of selling a jointly owned property and the partner using the sale proceeds to buy something else : section 6.063 of CRAG (Charging for residential Accommodation Guide Oct 2004) offers an example of such a situation and concludes that should the partner use all or most of the proceeds of sale to buy another property it would not be regarded as deprivation of assets because theoretically the partner in care would have wanted to have made that cash available for them to downsize/move to be near family etc.
    The only money the LA could get their hands on would be 50% of any profit made.

    I have also been advised that should repairs be needed on a property, the same rule applies - that any savings ought to be available to the partner still living at home for the upkeep of the house. I do not think it states this explicitly in CRAG (although I may be wrong) therefore I would advise families to agree any major work with the local authority first so that there isn't any come back further down the line. This ought to be the case, enduring power of attorney or no enduring power of attorney.

    Best wishes,
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Sally

    that's really helpful - thanks!

    Actually, my wife has her care fully funded, for Continuing Care and additional one-to-one, I'm just trying to ensure I am doing everything legally here! In this case I am not sure the local authority needs to be contacted......?

    Where can I find the CRAG guide?

    Many thanks again,
  6. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    #6 Sally, Oct 8, 2004
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2004
    Hi Bruce,

    The only thing the local authority are really interested in is deprivtion of assets so yes, if your wife gets cont care they will not be losing out even if you decide to build a swimming pool with mini-bar in the back yard!

    The CRAG guide is on the internet on the Dep of Health website but I am hoping the below link will take you straight there. It is not the most exciting document ever produced but very very useful.

  7. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Sally

    Call me boring, but I go for useful over exciting any day of the week, at least in this context!

    Many thanks for your help.
  8. Nutty Nan

    Nutty Nan Registered User

    Nov 2, 2003
    My advice was similar (from a solicitor who spoke at an Alzheimers Society course):
    Tenancy in Common would protect my part of our jointly owned property in the event of my husband needing continuous care. This also allowed me to set up a Trust Fund for my husband, should I die before him. This means that the proceeds (interest) fromf the Trust Fund could be used for his care.
    I hope I've got this right. It seemed to make perfect sense at the time I discussed all this and signed on the dotted line ....

    The advice from the building society, when I tried to sort out savings and protect them from being eaten up by tax, was very clearly that as a result of the EPA it was perfectly acceptable to use some of my husband's savings towards the replacement of our ancient car and maintenance of the home.

    Those were all stressful situations, manipulating money/changing my will etc. without being able to discuss it all with my husband. Even though I knew in my heart that he would completely agree with what I was doing, I felt very uncomfortable.

    It's done now - I prefer not to think about it any more!
  9. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    Sally and Bruce
    Our financial advisor put in place as you describe.
    My will would need a trust fund forming ,which should my wife remain in the house, funds could be re called from the fund for her expenses. This as you say prevents the council having access to my share of the house.
    We also have pre paid funeral arrangments avoiding payment from the estate.
    Does this sound about right it does get complicated doesn't it?


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