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Top Up Fees

POAMIL

Registered User
Apr 3, 2020
10
Hello, my Husband has POA for his mother. She is Self Funding. She has just went into a Care Home during the Corona Virus so we were unable to visit beforehand and/or speak with the Manager. We have just been sent a contract for My Husband to sign and one of the clauses is that he agrees to pay a Top Up Fee if and when his Mothers Money runs out. I am reserve attorney and if it was me I would absolutely refuse to agree to this clause. In the normal circumstances we probably would have been signing this contract in person with the Care Home manager and I would have voiced my thoughts then. As it is we are having to do it by post and I don't want my Husband to sign this. What should we do? Thank You
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
12,910
England
One thing to think about is lCare Home fees will increase annually which means you will cover this increase and what might seem affordable now will soon become eye watering.
 

POAMIL

Registered User
Apr 3, 2020
10
Thanks Bunpoots, I've told him to ring the manager and ask them to amend the contract. If not I'm just going to put a big line in Red Ink through that section and get husband to sign to say he refuses to pay any top up. I will take a look at the links given above beforehand so I know the legal status of doing this. Her money should last about two years so how can they ask you to commit to something in the future when you don't even know how much it will be?
 

POAMIL

Registered User
Apr 3, 2020
10
I thought being a POA was to make sure a persons money was looked after and used for the 'donors' Care. Nowhere did anybody say WE as a family would be liable to pay any fees if needed. If I'd known I would have appointed someone at the OPG to deal with it and just pay the extra expense for less stress. We have done 3 and a half years of his Mothers Dementia. We hoped her being in a home would remove the '****' weve had to deal with at last, but no it keeps on coming. She's been there 3 weeks and already had an incident
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
20,055
North Manchester
In your circumstances I would write to the home acknowledging receipt of letter and simply saying that you would like to discuss the contents face to face when the current restrictions are lifted.

Depending on your MIL's life expectancy and capital I would see if the home would agree to waive any top up after x years of self funding.

With care home fees increasing at a greater rate than LA tariffs they are in effect asking you to sign a blank cheque.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,171
South coast
By trying to get you to sign this clause, the care home are thinking about what happens once your mums money runs out and she will need Local Authority funding. The LA will only fund up to a certain amount, but not all care homes will accept this amount and therefore ask family to make up the difference - the top-up fee.

My mums care home said that once mum had been there self-funding for three years or more, then once she needed LA funding they would waive the top-up fee, but many care homes will not do this. If you cant afford the top-up fees (and they can indeed become eye-watering) and the care home wont waive the fees, then you will have to move her to a cheaper care home that will accept the LA rate.



BTW, these would still be the same options if there was an OPG appointed deputy - once her funds were run down, the deputy would come to you and ask if you were willing to pay the top up fees, and if you wernt, they would move your mum; you just wouldnt have any say in it.
 

POAMIL

Registered User
Apr 3, 2020
10
Thank You very much Nitram and Canary. My point is that my Husband is her POA, forget he is her Son/Family therefore why would someone with POA agree to pay top up fees? If they weren't related and he was an unrelated POA, by signing the contract they are promising to pay. If that's the case why would anybody that doesn't have a personal connection to the Donor sign that? How could an OPG sign that truthfully, how do they know when the time comes a family member will pay a top up? Therefore, I don't think the clause should be there. If it's legal we aren't signing, if it's not legal why is it there? Sorry I'm being awkward but me and my husband are not happy signing this. If when the time comes she would have to go somewhere cheaper we would do our best for her but not at our own expense
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
20,055
North Manchester
From what you have said there is no chance of any top up being paid.

I would see if there is any future in the home agreeing to waive any top up after a specific number of years of self funding.

If this can't be agreed, and assuming you are otherwise happy with the contract and home, you could just strike through the offending clause, initial and date the amendment on both copies, then leave it up to them.
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
1,893
Essex
I don't think you should sign anything. Dad went into his home permanently in July 2018 and as POA I didn't have to sign anything like this eventhough I had read about top up fees. Dad was self-funding and he was in the home for almost a year before he was taken very ill very suddenly and passed away. You need to send them a note explaining why you are not signing part of the form as your mil has only literally just arrived.

Good luck

MaNaAk
 

POAMIL

Registered User
Apr 3, 2020
10
Thank You Nitram, I think we are thinking striking through that clause is the way to go. One more question if I may, Can agreeing to pay a top up fee at this stage be legally binding? We could agree to their terms and they would not know we have no intention of paying a top up . My MIL probably has 2 years worth of money so it's not going to be an issue for awhile if at all. If it's legally binding then it should be shown to a solicitor first which of course we can't do just yet. (I'm at high risk so we are self isolating) so no chance of seeing anyone in person
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
20,055
North Manchester
Can agreeing to pay a top up fee at this stage be legally binding?
You will have to take legal advice

If you go this route you could send a copy of the contract to a solicitor for comment.

If you can get an agreement on the waiving of the fee, it's best to do this, solicitors cost money and you don't know what the answer will be.
 

POAMIL

Registered User
Apr 3, 2020
10
Thank You MaNaAk, I wonder why it's not the same for everyone who has POA. I think we will just add a note to the contract saying we do not agree with this clause. I think they are just trying it on at a very vulnerable time. My MIL had an incident at home, was taken to Hospital, assessed as being at risk of returning home even with extra care. The Hospital Social Worker gave us some options of Care homes as they just wanted her out of the hospital bed, understandably because of the Corona Virus. I had to choose just by looking online at the CQC reports and reviews. We have never met the manager and she hasn't even called my Husband, we just got the contract in the post, along with the bill so far to be paid and a direct debit for future payments. Clearly money is her only interest. I don't feel inclined to call her to discuss this as she can't be bothered to call us after my MIL being in her care for over 3 weeks. A member of staff has already called regarding a safe guarding issue but not the manager.

I'm very sorry for the loss of your Dad xxx
 

POAMIL

Registered User
Apr 3, 2020
10
Thanks again to everyone who commented. You are all very helpful. I appreciate you all taking the time to respond x
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,737
Chester
I agree with @nitram strike the clause through and send it back.

I'm sure this has come up on the forum before.

I doubt a solicitor will help. It is possible that the clause would be deemed onerous but effectively the home is trying it on. I suspect this is a standard contract sent out by an admin team as care homes are after all businesses as well.

All care homes are very busy at the moment. Maybe phoning the manager is the way forward as then you have made contact about all aspects of MILs care not just financial.

Ultimately most poa will be close family who are the ones who would be asked for top up. An opg appointed deputy would give you no choice of care home or how much to spend on MILs clothes etc and would charge for the privilege.