I just wanted to ask for advice about an upsetting letter my husband received from my sister-in-law earlier this week, which is worrying me. The letter was addressed to him and his 3 siblings. In this letter, my SIL expresses her exasperation as to why my husband (Power of Attorney holder) refuses to apply to Social Services for financial support for my parents-in-law’s care costs. The reason why is quite straightforward – up until very recently, they had a substantial share portfolio, which I’m aware SS would treat as ‘notional capital’. They were persuaded to gift this portfolio their children, as a way to reduce their assets. I’m aware of the principle of ‘Deprivation of assets’, so I understand the gifting of the shares would cut no ice with SS if a financial assessment was carried out. They also own their own home, so all in all their assets are currently well above the £24k funding threshold. My husband, thankfully, sees this too, and refuses to participate in what would be a fraudulent claim. My S-I-L also implicitly criticises me (main carer) for over–caring for my parents-in-law. Or at least, that’s how it feels to me. She says that they are very fortunate in receiving so much care and attention from their children, and that she will not be able to provide that amount of support to her own parents, if they should need it. I can’t help but feel hurt by that comment. My dad-in-law (82) had an operation for bowel cancer early in 2014. He has made a good recovery from that operation, but it has left him with problems keeping his bowels clean, and he also wears a urinary catheter permanently. He is also immobile and has some cognitive impairment following an earlier hip operation, so is no longer able to manage his own affairs. My husband does most of their paperwork. My mum-in-law (77) has very recently received a formal diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. At the moment she presents quite well, and could fool the unknowing into believing there is nothing wrong with her. But in reality, as we have discovered, she can no longer manage the usual household tasks that used to be routine for her. Because both parents-in-law are still relatively early in their dementia journeys, and (I pray daily) relatively safe living in their own home, at the present time the only paid-for care they get is a visit every morning to help my DIL get out of bed, washed and dressed. Their daughter puts DIL to bed at night and checks that the house is secure. I was working full-time until recently, but my job came to an end in May of this year (end of contract, so not unexpected). Since then, I have stepped up my caring for MIL and DIL, to the point where it is practically a full-time occupation. Up until that time, I’d been visiting them about twice a week with a prepared meal. I soon realised that that was not enough to meet their daily needs, so decided to visit them at least every other day, always bringing a meal. I organised a rota system so that one of their other children brings a meal once a week each on the days I’m not there. I also do their shopping, oversee domestic tasks and attend some healthcare appointments with them. It wasn’t until I started focusing on their needs that I saw how difficult life had become for them, and how much support they now need, just with day-to-day living. Forgive me for blowing my trumpet, but it’s due mainly to my efforts these past few months that:- - They both now have attendance allowance, and a reduction in council tax - MIL was stopped from driving - I disabled her car, her driving licence has been revoked and their car has been sold - I organised the installation of a community alarm system for them - I changed DIL’s carers after discovering the first ones were not cleaning his catheter site properly - I attempted to get SS to carry out a needs assessment for them (but gave up on that one!) - I took them for dentist and dental hygienist appointments, and have organised and attended numerous other health-related appointments with them I believe that I’m doing only the very basic caring tasks to enable MIL and DIL to remain as independent as they can be, in their own home. There is absolutely NO pampering or pandering going on! Looking at it from a different perspective, as a former manager of people, I would want someone in place to cover their needs, even if those needs are not hugely demanding at this stage. I’d want someone available in case they pressed the emergency button, for example (it has happened a couple of times already!). I’d want someone available to be able to attend those unexpected visits to the doctor. I do all of the above because I can, and want to, and am lucky enough to have a supportive husband who appreciates what I do for his parents. So, as I see it, there is no case for making an application for funding at the present time. I can well understand that this situation may change once we are talking about care home or nursing care, but it seems to me to difficult to predict future scenarios at this stage. Is that over-excessive caring? Or is it not enough? I’d really welcome any opinions on this. I guess it’s no wonder I feel hurt and dismayed by my SIL’s comments. I do understand that it doesn’t have to be ME that does these things, at least not forever. But as long as I’m in place and their needs remain at this level, there’s no need to pay for any more care. I appreciate the situation may change suddenly and dramatically, and I might not be able to continue, so at some stage, yes, we will have to pay for care. I’m also aware that their capital won’t last forever, so if MIL lives another 20 years (entirely possible!), we may have to eventually approach SS for funding. I have raised this very issue with the siblings in family meetings (another thing I’ve organised). I have suggested that we should contact a SOLLA adviser to get advice with planning the funding of their care needs, so as to LEGITIMATELY protect the grandchildren’s inheritance – as far as this is possible. My BIL was dismissive of this suggestion, as he believes he has enough expertise to make his own funding decisions. He has a background in finance, but is not a specialist in this area. Apart from feeling hurt, my next reaction to my SIL’s letter was to dismiss it. I believe it contains many inaccuracies, especially her interpretation of the principles of deprivation of assets. I’d be prepared to forgive her ignorance, and preserve the peace for the sake of maintaining family relationships. However, the more I think about it, the more I’m left with nagging suspicion that she might at some stage attempt to make a fraudulent application for a financial assessment for one, or both, parents-in-law. Her husband (MIL and DIL’s second son, the ‘dismissive finance expert’) also holds financial power of attorney. Both attorney sons have joint and several powers. I can well imagine her, through her husband, trying it on with Social Services. But until MIL and DIL’s care needs increase substantially, I guess (I hope!) Social Services won’t respond. I’m aware that Social Services do have sophisticated powers of interrogation, so I’m hoping that the share transfer would come to their attention, and the application would then be rejected out of hand. It was certainly done at a time when DIL could have reasonably foreseen that he would need care in the future, as he was already receiving care following his cancer operation! But I’m fearful of the repercussions of her attempting a claim and then my husband potentially being prosecuted. Or, what if she makes a successful claim? We would then be put in a position of conflict over coming clean with SS, or keeping quiet. My conscience would not allow the latter, so I can foresee family relations breaking down irreparably at that point. It’s such an awful position to be put in, especially when trying to work out just how on earth to cope with, what is in effect, two vulnerable adults living alone for most of the time. Thank you for bearing with me and reading this. I’d really appreciate any advice.