Protecting mums finances

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Martin099, May 19, 2015.

  1. Martin099

    Martin099 Registered User

    Nov 13, 2012
    53
    Dorset
    I'm sure this situation will be familiar to many of you - we are currently using up mums savings to pay for care home fees before eventually have to sell her house to keep up with the payments. My brother and I have an enduring power of attorney enabling us to look after mums financial affairs.
    The question is: Is there anything we can legally do to avoid all of mums financial assets, including her home, being used to pay for care fees?...or does the law state that we must use up mums money until we're down to her last £23k of assets?
    Before mum became really ill with mixed dementia she always used to say to us that we should do something with the money before it's too late - things like leaving money to her 4 grandchildren was something she really wanted so much to do. It somehow doesn't feel fair that my mums life savings, for which she worked tirelessly, are spent solely care fees.
    Thanks for reading
    Martin
     
  2. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    Hi Martin,

    I agree with you totally (there will be others here that think differently) however I don't think there is much you can do. :(

    What is the situation with the house at the moment. Is anyone living in it?
     
  3. Flake

    Flake Registered User

    Mar 9, 2015
    222
    I am sure many on here will sympathize with you and many will say that people save for their old age and this is what the money should be used for. My mum is in her own home and has savings and she has always said that she wanted to leave 'something' for her children and grandchildren. Unfortunately there is not much you can do to safeguard the money for family. I have read threads on here where various comments have been made similar to your own, about transferring property etc etc and there have been responses in support and some unkind. Read up on deprivation of assets. I agree with you totally and I know my Mum would ideally want to leave something for her family especially after the hard life she has had. :(
     
  4. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    12,246
    Female
    England
    #4 jaymor, May 19, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
    Your Mum is already in care so there is probably nothing you can do. If something can be done it is usually only accepted by the LA if it was done way before care had been a possibility. Once it is even a possibility you are skating on thin ice and if done after then most possibly in deep water. Many, many of us face having to use our homes to finance our care, not nice, but something we have to accept.
     
  5. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,282
    SW London
    No, it doesn't seem fair, but many of us have had no choice. I know my own mother would be horrified if she knew how much of her hard-saved assets have gone on care home fees, not to mention her house being sold. Whenever we used to urge her to treat herself to this or that, she would say, 'I'm only saving it for you lot.'

    One of the blessings of dementia, if there ever can be said to be such a thing, is that the person themselves is nearly always unaware.

    And I have to say I have often been profoundly thankful that she was self-funded, so that we could choose when and where, rather than having to rely on the tender mercies of an almost certainly cash-strapped LA.
     
  6. Martin099

    Martin099 Registered User

    Nov 13, 2012
    53
    Dorset
    Thanks for all the comments on this topic.
    I appreciate that this is potentially a sensitive subject that will no doubt split opinion. I guess where I'm coming from is that all the effort my parents put in to their home (of 46 years - they moved in the day man landed on the moon!) is now being completely lost on care bills.
    Witzend - I agree that my mums lack of awareness is indeed a silver lining in terms of not knowing how her money is being spent - we need to look for all the positives we can.
    Personally neither my brother or I could care less if the family didn't receive a single penny. I visit mum at least 4 times a week in the care home and the comfort and joy I get from seeing mum stimulated, looked after and smiling (at least sometimes!) is priceless.
    Martin
     
  7. Cath59

    Cath59 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2015
    46
    The only thing I can add is to see if you can make what she has work for her. If she has a home consider renting it out. That's not necessarily straightforward as the chances are that you will need to spend money to make it rentable but still worth thinking about. It may not pay the fees but may make her savings last longer. That said it can be a lot of work and I'm really struggling with clearing out my mother's things while she's still "with " us.
     
  8. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    I'm with you on that point, and Martin099 is 100% right that knowing his mum is being looked after well is more important than anything else. Mum's LA were willing to send her home alone with no family member living nearer than 2hrs drive away even though she was totally immobile without two carers to help her.

    People save for a rainy day....and dementia brings a lot of them.
     
  9. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,419
    Could not agree more. My phrase is: my mother saved for a rainy day and with dementia were talking monsoon.
     
  10. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,491
    Female
    Near Southampton
    Love the analogy Jennifer. So very true. I agree too.
     
  11. dottyd

    dottyd Registered User

    Jan 22, 2011
    1,066
    n.e.
    Renting out is your only option.

    ASk about the deferred scheme. If you don't make all the fees at least renting slows down the process.

    I let my aunts and mums homes. Mums was ready to go as I always kept on top of the decorating and I spent £12,000 getting my aunts up to scratch.

    It's such an unfair system between those that have a little and those that have nothing and believe I believe the havenots should be treated as well as the aves
     
  12. so unfair

    so unfair Registered User

    Mar 27, 2015
    9
    Advice on Care Home Costs

    Martin have you looked into something called Continuing Health Care which can be arranged through the care home and social services. If you look up Angela Sherman and the web site that she has set up called "Care to be different" you will find details all about this. If your Mum meets all of the requirements then she can get fully funded care at home or in a care home for free! The other option which we are looking into for my MIL is putting her savings/ and or property into a trust fund so that it is protected. I really hope that this bit of advice helps and I am totally with you on the whole paying for care point of view. It makes me so cross and angry that you work hard all of your life and then you are supposed to spend all of that money on care. No I don't think so! Good luck with everything.
     
  13. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    6,967
    Brixham Devon
    Hi

    Be VERY careful about doing this. Your poor MIL has a diagnosis of Dementia? In the future if she needs to go to a CH/NH and she has no funds available the LA will want to know where her money has gone. They can go back as many years as they want. They could quite possibly look on this as deliberate deprivation of assets. I urge you to take professional advice from a Solicitor who specialises in this field.
     
  14. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    4,937
    Female
    Chester
    Proper professional advice needs to be taken if a trust is being considered. Both legal and tax (trusts set up without tax advice can be very expensive - solicitors aren't tax experts and tax experts aren't legal experts). No reputable solicitor would assist with a trust if there was deprivation of assets in the equation as it isn't legal and they could get struck off, so not a risk they would be prepared to take. Once a trust is created it can't be undone.
     
  15. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,854
    Suffolk
    I have been marginally involved in two trusts, made by my FIL and my grandfather respectively. There have been problems with both of them, especially FIL's. Nobody seemed to think of all eventualities, especially old age both have involved people who have lived to over 100, in fact one is 101 and still going!
    Personally, unless you take advice from a specialist, not your own family solicitor, I wouldn't bother! Maybe if you've got oodles of money!
     
  16. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,282
    SW London
    Yes, trusts can be very expensive. The children of a colleague were left money in a trust by a grandfather. When the time came to wrap it up - when they reached the age of 25 - the solicitors took absolutely ages, and charged a fortune. It seemed quite clear that they were prolonging the agony on purpose, just so they could continue to charge every time they drew breath.
     
  17. chrisdee

    chrisdee Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
    171
    Yorkshire
    #17 chrisdee, May 22, 2015
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
    Martin, I just think that you have to bite the bullet on this one. As you can see so very many of us have been in the same position. I have read other threads recently on this issue and a common and poignant theme seems to keep emerging: Many of us are baby boomers with parents who started to do well in the 1960's and maybe for the first time, were in a position to buy a house for the family. Often, like my folks, it was a good sized semi on a pleasant estate. They were usually extremely proud of this achievement, often funded it on one salary. They hoped the uplift in family finances would follow their children through life - etc. Then came the 'longer lived'. All my grandparents died in their late 70's but Mum and Dad lived to 89 and 91. I actually think old age and its consequences has been the real bombshell here. We were fortunate to retain the house and some cash, but it really is just luck. the whole lot could have gone in care fees, and we always reminded ourselves it really was their money. I was always pleased to think we did our best for Mum in terms of good care. When they have gone, at least you can live with yourself and believe me, that's worth everything. However, your worries are very familiar to me. Fingers crossed eh.
     
  18. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    I think that sums it up pretty well, chrisdee.

    If you have money to spare and truly want to give it away to your children, then the best way is to do it well before your own health starts to deteriorate. There are clear guidelines to follow

    http://www.money.co.uk/guides/gifting-money-to-your-children-faqs.htm

    Regarding trusts: my former neighbours put their house into a trust in 2002 and spent a small fortune trying, unsuccessfully I might add, to have it rescinded. They ended up having to pay rent to live there, which didn't go down well. It has also caused huge family rifts.

    Last year the house was sold and the children (late 50s) and grandchildren are enjoying the proceeds with some lovely holidays - Vietnam, south America, the Caribbean....

    Meanwhile, the old couple (in their 80s) are living in a very nice bungalow, but it is owned by their daughter in law, with whom they no longer get on. They are worried sick about what they will do if anything happens to their son, who has serious health problems himself.

    What should have been a comfortable old age has turned into a series of worries for them... and all because they wanted to beat the taxman. I find that very sad.
     
  19. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,491
    Female
    Near Southampton
    #19 Saffie, May 22, 2015
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
    The thing is that it's all very well wanting to leave some money for our children and grandchildren but we know we might need care and so who should pay for that care but ourselves. So, it it's more than just a vague, generalised wish, the obvious thing to do is to help as much as we can whilst we are able to.

    We didn't have much when our children were young, no holidays apart from times spent with grandparents, who fortunately lives in a beautiful area, and always watching the pennies. However, we have helped our children as things improved in later life and I continue to do so with both my children and grandchildren. Not only does this help me feel better about them not having so much when younger but should I need to go into a home at some point, I will be able to know that I will have done my best for them.
    Let's face it there will be a choice - have cantakerous me and all that I own or place me in a home and forfeit it! :cool: :)
     
  20. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,282
    SW London
    Same here - I don't want my daughters ever to hesitate about putting me in a home - I never want them to be stressed and exhausted with trying to look after me. BUT at the same time, they know that I will want no life-prolonging measures whatsoever - if Nature might be trying to let me go, then for heaven's sake just let her get on with it.
    And I have a Living Will to that effect, for them to show to anyone who might think life must be preserved at all costs, no matter if I am incontinent, have lost every shred of dignity, and no longer know any of my own family.
     

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