1. justice

    justice Registered User

    Nov 1, 2009
    #1 justice, Apr 25, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
    Hello everyone,

    I posted last year (Justice for Lilian and others...)

    On the terrible time we had (and still have) trying to get a retrospective assessment of my mother-in-laws care. We eventually got the NHS Trust to agree they will reasses everything and they informed the Council in February of this.

    My mother-in-law sadly died in September

    The County Council say there is a debt of £50,000 but they are not prepared to wait and they are seeking to have the debt moved from the mother-in-laws name and sue my wife for the debt instead of my mother-in-laws estate. - I'm at my wits end with all of this and I'm trying to protect my wife as shes on the verge of a nervous breakdown!!

    I received a letter from a solicitor acting for the council dated the 14th April, which I received on the 17th (since then I have spoken to a solicitor) but theyre dragging their feet and we're not much further forward. I believe the papers are deemed served three days after the date of the letter and that gives me up to the 31st to put in some kind of defence SO I HAVE ONLY DAYS NOW or this might be granted.

    I hope this is the right place to post this as I couldnt see a specific folder, so I posted here as it stands the best chance of being seen (so I apologise in advance to any moderator if this is wrong).

    Can ANYONE offer any kind of help, is there a solicitor in the Staines, Middlesex area.

  2. Vonny

    Vonny Registered User

    Feb 3, 2009
    I'm a bit confused as to why the council is expecting your wife to pay. No one has to pay for any one else's care. Either it is paid for out of the person's assets or it's funded by the Social fund (unless it's NHS continuing care of course, for which you've been fighting)

    Is the council trying to reclaim money left by your mother in law to your wife? I would have thought that any such money would have been challenged at probate.

    I'm sorry I have no practical advice for you and think you are wise to involve a solicitor. One point that springs to mind is that if the council have told you a response is needed by 31st April that should be challenged as there are only 30 days in April. That may give you a bit more breathing space if they have to reword their letter.

    Please can anyone with with solicitor details as requested by Justice remember to PM these to him rather than posting here on the forum.

    Good luck Justice
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I`m no solicitor but the only claim I can imagine the council could have against your wife is if deprivation of assets could be proved.
    If not, they haven`t a chance.
  4. Winnie Kjaer

    Winnie Kjaer Account Closed

    Aug 14, 2009
    I might be misreading this completely
    but does that not indicate that there is enough to pay the debt from your MIL's estate eventually. The issue is that the Council does not want to wait?

    If that is the case I would imagine it is just tough, they have to wait like all other interested parties for the solicitor who is dealing with the estate gathering all the claims to see if there is enough funds to go around.

    I may have misunderstood this completely, but if there is no funds, there is no way they can claim the money from your wife unless as earlier stated they can prove deprivation of assets has taken place.
  5. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    #5 Onlyme, Apr 25, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
    Hi I'm new here but very glad to have found this forum we have had 4 years of hell trying to prove the council or the NHS should have been paying for my mother-in-laws care.

    We have continually tried to have her case reassessed to no avail, we stopped paying her charges and have a £50,000+ bill oustanding. The council are threateneing court action and the whole thing has impacted on the family and taken such a toll on my wife.

    I have done all I can to try to bring justice and I would be prepared to take the council to court but I dont know where to start, is there a template or well-worded letter that could be sent informing them of my intentions?

    I found this in one of Justice's older threads. I would have thought that the charge would have gone against your MIL's estate. I can't see why your wife would be held responsible unless your wife signed some paperwork when your MIL went into the home.
  6. justice

    justice Registered User

    Nov 1, 2009
    I think this goes back to the fact Lilian paid 40k toward a 120k extension that was built in 2002 to accommodate her. I think it also has something to do with the fact that they sought a judgement against Lilian which they got then we had it overturned??

    However there are funds in her estate, even although we expect te final bill (if there is one) to be considerably reduced.
  7. justice

    justice Registered User

    Nov 1, 2009
    #7 justice, Apr 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2010
    Here is some further history:

    This goes back several years. Lilian was in hospital for several weeks before being moved to a care home. She had lived with us for 6 years but eventually it got too much. The NHS said she would have to be put in a suitable care home. We informed the Council that the establishment they were proposing WAS NOT SUITABLE and we were promised by the care team manager that she would only be there a matter of days, two weeks at the most, this did not happen. We also made the Council aware we believed the NHS was responsible for costs and we were seeking to prove this, we also made the Council aware that we believed they should not have been involved on the first place.

    They placed her in a dreadful place and after 2 months when she was still there we refused to pay anymore fees, it took a further 18 months where she was assaulted, where valuable jewellery was stolen or lost, where her clothes were ruined, where she was left to sit in urine and worse, where she lived in fear before we got her out of there. - But the fees kept accruing.

    I specifically asked Moderator note: name of NHS authority removed ???? NHS to act as a central point in these negotiations as we did not want to have to deal with a County Council who have harassed, bullied and threatened, who placed a seriously ill woman in a in an establishment that (was not) suitable, contrary to the request of the NHS.

    This was after we had a meeting with this Council last year (after much threats and bullying) and we gave them £10000 partly as we believed we would get it back when all of this was over. This was after we found out at that meeting they ahd a County Court Judgement aginst my mother-in-law

    “ A Council that we have successfully fought to have a CCJ overturned, when it was discovered that they had surreptitiously served a Court Summons on a dementia sufferer in the actual, sub-standard establishment they placed her in. When we, her family knew nothing about it"

    Additionally they have been kept in contact with everything that has been happening in the ongoing correspondence with ?????? NHS Trust and they are aware of the current state of proceedings, so to then go against everything that is happening with something as low as this is quite unbelievable.

    This is an excerpt from a letter from ?????? NHS Trust that a retrospective assessment will be carried out and we expect it to be proven that these charges should have been paid for by the NHS. ?????? County Council was informed of this decision on the 19th February 2010.

    “As soon as we are able, we will review your mother’s care needs during the period 31 July 2006 until her death………

    As mentioned in our previous letter, we undertake retrospective reviews in the order in which they are received. Having made enquiries, I am very sorry to tell you that there are 44 cases waiting to be dealt with ahead of yours. The reviews are very time-consuming to complete and involve obtaining a great deal of information on a person’s needs, e.g. information from the GP, hospital and social care. A Needs Portrayal with supporting references and evidence is produced which confirms the person’s eligibility. A copy of the Needs Portrayal is sent for comment to the family prior to being presented at the Local Retrospective Review Panel. I very much regret that, in view of the large volume of cases waiting, it is unlikely that we will be able to review your mother’s case until next year, although we are working hard to try to improve this situation.”

    I think its fair to say the situation is strained however we are trying to reach a conclusion. Additionaly I received another letter from ?????? NHS on the 19th March 2010

    The County Council recognises that you are not happy with the involvement that Adult Services have had with this matter and further that, as you state in your letter of 23 February 2010, you do not believe they should have been involved in the first place

    The County Council would welcome the opportunity to respond to your concerns directly as identified in the letter sent to you by ??????? ?????? date 18 January 2010 and repeated once more in italics below.

    “Our understanding is that you would want the Council to be satisfied that the decisions ands actions taken regarding your mother were both appropriate and lawful. In practical terms the review would need to consider the following:

    o Why the Council assessed that they (not the NHS) were the responsible authority to fund services to meet your mother’s needs at the time of her discharge from ?? ?????? hospital.
    o The circumstances of your mother’s discharge from ?? ??????? hospital to ?????? ????? care home, specifically how and why those particular arrangements were made.
    o The basis upon which the Council made financial charges to yur mother as a contribution towards the support provided.
    o The issue you have raised about a ‘promise’ that she would only be in the care home for a matter of weeks. (In

    If you would like to take this aspect forward, please contact ??????? ?????? by telephone on ????? ??????,

    Name and address of
    The county council…

    The Council will not take any formal action unless it hears from you.”

    (Q) How can the NHS say the Council will not take any action in March and then in April the Council do this??

    I think its fair to say that relations have broken down with the Council, especially after we found out they served papers on my mother-in-law and we had to fight to have a CCJ against her overturned. However this latest situation is a disgrace from a Council who have continually threatened and bullied. The only respite we’ve had has only come since we put forward a possible case against ?????? NHS and ?????? County Council!

    They have NO RIGHT to try to amend anything, any debt, should there be any debt at the end of this, any debt will have to be claimed from my mother-in-laws estate. I cannot believe this latest abuse of the system can be legally right, but there is one thing I do know and that is this most certainly NOT morally right.

    I have been hospitalised twice recently and my wife is a nervous wreck through all of this.
  8. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    If your solicitor isn't helping then engage another one. You're at no obligation to stay with someone who isn;t doing what you want.

    As far as I am aware unless your wife is either

    1) the executor of your MIL's estate and is refusing to release funds to the council to pay bills


    2) Your wife is the major, possibly solitary, beneficiary of your MIL's estate and is attempting to prevent payment to the council


    3) the council are claiming there is some sort of deprivation of assets in the past involving your wife (for example, your MIL signed over property to your wife's name, or gave her substantial sums of money)


    4) your wife has power of attorney over your MIL's affairs and failed to pay council bills out of your MIL's assets

    then the council doesn't stand a chance. Unless someone made a legally biding agreement to the contrary, one person cannot be made responsible for another person's debts.

    If someone dies then payment of outstanding debts takes top priority - these must be paid by the executor before anything else and as I understand it bills paid reduce the estate value for inheritance tax purposes. If the estate is not enough to pay all debt sowing, there is a priority system and you will not be surprised to learn that the government has placed itself at the top! Other than this if the assets won't cover the debt then the bills can't be paid.
  9. justice

    justice Registered User

    Nov 1, 2009
    Thanks for these replies everyone, its evident that this Council has an agenda but its imperative I speak to a solicitor who specialises in this area.

    It is clearly trying to say that because my MIL gave funds toward an extension 8 years ago we are somehow liable. My wife has taken this very badly, we never intended for Lilian would ever go into care and she lived with us since 2000. Since she died my wife has been distraught and she feels she let her mother down by allowing her to be put into that god forsaken place and she just cant come to terms with with it all.

    She is not the executor, we are not saying we wont pay, we are hoping we dont have to when all is said and done but until this decision is given by the NHS what can we do?

    There's got to be one in the Middlesex area? - As Vonny says please pm me if anyone knows of one?

  10. justice

    justice Registered User

    Nov 1, 2009
    The bottom line here is my MIL had a medical need and as such the NHS should pay for her care, whether thats at home, in care, or in a hospital.

    The NHS has since Coughlan and other cases colluded with Councils to intepret the law in any way that suits them. One more high-profile case and the whole house of cards will come tumbling down. This council in effect kidnapped my MIL, they kept her in a sub-standard facility for 18 months of her life, despite us doing what we could to get her moved. Councils up and down the land I believe are acting ilegally and theyre getting away with it, mostly becuse they have the power and the funds to do so.
  11. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    In that case I think the council are trying a "deprivation of assets" line.

    As you're probably aware, this means that someone deliberately gives away money or other assets for the purpose of evading the payment of care fees.

    The problem is that there are no firm rules about this - it's pretty much left up to the council to decide what is and is not a deprivation. There is no time limit or anything like that, at least not in the rules.

    However, if they brought it before a court then they would I believe have to establish intent.

    It might be hard for them to convince a judge of this if she gave you the money before she was ill as I think there have been cases where the council have lost because people gave money before they could "reasonably expect" they would have to go into care "in the forseeable future"

    Also, if your MIL was living with you at the time and the extension was built to help with that, and espescially if she actually lived in it, that strengthens your hand.

    But you really do need professional legal advice. It might be worth trying to find a solicitor who specialises in this area of the law - it has been my experience that general solicitors are not much help when it comes to relatively uncommon problems they have little experience of such as this.

    It must be very distressing for you and your wife.
  12. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    Hi Justice

    Though many do not agree with me, I found my MP to be supportive when the NHS was delaying a decision on mum’s Continuing Healthcare and social services were not doing their bit. I found that he was able to ask questions, and get answers, at a far higher level than I could with managers of both social services and the NHS.

    I do admit that I had several eye-to-eye meetings, was very careful how I asked for help, and progress was not always as quick as I would have liked... but progress was made.

  13. FifiMo

    FifiMo Registered User

    Feb 10, 2010
    You are in the middle of an election campaign with live TV debates going on and where people are all seeking re-election. I'd be going to the press with this one - local and national. Sometimes its the power of the people that win over these bullies, who are, after all elected by US to serve us. It's about time they realised this.

    Sorry for the rant but this makes me so annoyed, especially where irresponsible actions lead to suffering of all concerned.

    With regards to legal advisors, I would perhaps ask Age Concern or some such organisation to give you a list of specialists. Failing that, look on google as listings of lawyers and their specialisms are in the public domain. Another place you could ask is on yahoo groups who have a lot of lawyers on there who are acting pro-bono to help advise desperate people like yourselves in need of urgent attention.

    Hope this helps,

  14. justice

    justice Registered User

    Nov 1, 2009
    Thanks Nebiroth,

    Yes I think this is what theyre up to, however while it can be said that relations ahve broken down, they are aware that the NHS have agreed to resassess everything and have agreed that the home the Council put her in was only to be temporary. They (the Council) as far as we were concerned were to wait for the outcome of this, we all were!

    To do something like this is totally wrong, we have given them £10,000 under pressure and we have always agreed to pay whatever the eventual sums was - so we are not trying to not pay although we do expect to win our case.

    My MIL lived with us since 2000, she actually lived with us a lot before then but was going back and forward.

    Yes it is very distressing, its a huge mental problem that been going on far too long but thanks for your thoughts.

  15. justice

    justice Registered User

    Nov 1, 2009
    Hi Clive,

    My MP is standing down, he was one of the biggest expense takers in the country, although his office did send me a letter saying they would look into it.

  16. MJK

    MJK Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    Hi Jim,

    Have you tried contacting your local branch of the Alzheimer's Society; they might be able to suggest a suitable solicitor.

  17. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    #17 Clive, Apr 26, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
    Hi Justice

    My experiance was that letters should only confirm what has been said / agreed. The only way I believe I made progress was frequent eye to eye contact until I was very well known to him... and he knew I would be back with the notes from the last meeting.

  18. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
  19. justice

    justice Registered User

    Nov 1, 2009
    MJK didn't know there was such a thing!

  20. justice

    justice Registered User

    Nov 1, 2009
    Thanks Jennifer I'll have a look at this possibly for a legal aid side of things...

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