Spending Assets

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi,
I care for my 81 year old mum with early dementia. For the last 2 years she had mental capacity but her memory has got worse lately. I have Power of Attorney. I moved to be nearer and she agreed to pay the shortfall in rent and help with my living costs, petrol, food etc. Rent is £800 a month as I live in a very costly city. My only income from carers benefits, does not even cover rent let alone anything else. The money has been mainly in cash so to avoid it going into my bank account. At times it has amounted to £1,000 a month as this money has counted as my payment in kind for my caring duties at my mothers wish.
Lately, reading up on info for funding etc I'm getting worried about this. Would this be see as deprivation of assets. She will be self funding initially, but what if she loses mental capacity? Mum always wanted to gift money to me, but I think its probably too late, as SS will look into timing. BUT the intention has been to help me and not avoid care costs. There's lots of info on what she cant do but nothing on what she can spend her money on. I'm worried sick about it, cant sleep and feel utterly despondent.
Hello blueriver7.Welcome to the forum
I'm not sure how to help you. Could you contact the solicitor who deemed your mother had the capacity to allow you to have power of attorney? Explain the situation. I had to go down the court of Protection route for my husband, and the rules are very strict. I have to account for all transactions I make on my husbands behalf.
You have receipts for your rent so it may be a matter of your mother explaining that she was happy to gift this to you. Do you feel she has the capacity to do that? I'm not an expert on POA. Others may be along shortly with more practical advice.
Just wanted to let you know your post has been read.
Hi Blueriver
I don't think you have any cause to panic. If your mother were paying an agency , she would be spending £20-£25 per hour. How many hours of care do you rprovide? I dare say more than you are paid for. I do recommend recording everything you do for her by way of care though should you ever need to justify anything.
Has your mum had an initial financial assessment and is she approaching or below the limit of £23,250?
I can't remember the details but this has come up on another forum and I am fairly certain there was a test case that permitted family carers to pay themselves a reasonable amount £12 or £15 k from memory.
If mum has not yet had a financial assessment I doubt they would go back and query such expenditure anyway- I think they are on the look out for fast cars and holidays rather than living expenses.
Hi
It is best to document everything, even if you have power of attorney. Keep all bills and receipts. I'd advise against using the term 'gift' as that has tax connotations. If Mum is paying "reasonable" expenses and time for caring that should be ok, but you might be investiagted and need to prove it at some point. Extravagant or sudden large sums would raise questions.
How long has this been happening? Duration can work in your favour if this is a regular arrangement over months or years.

Hope thus helps
MrsA
If mum has early dementia, she might still have mental capacity. I urge you to contact the Carers UK helpine (email is best, the phone is almost constantly busy) to discuss where to go from here.
Mum can pay for her care i.e. you, and the best way of doing this would be for mum to set up a standing order to you, from her account. This would not count as "deprivation of assets". The real problem might be in the future that you as attorney are paying yourself. I believe from what others have written here that where the Office of Public Guardian is concerned this isn't allowed,, but you already have POA, so the rules might be different.
If mum is deemed to have capacity, it might be simpler if she agrees to you having a shared bank account.
I don't think you have anything to worry about for now. After all, most people would like to have a family member care for them, and you are very good to move to help her more. She is lucky.
What you need to do is "future proof" any arrangement for the time when she lacks capacity.
Presumably you are claiming Carers Allowance? Did you know that if you have modest savings you might be entitled to ESA as well, with no requirement to "look for work". Again, ask the helpline for full details.
Finally, if mum is living alone, from the date of diagnosis mum should be completely exempt from Council Tax, on the grounds of "severe mental impairment". make sure you claim and get the refund!!
This is fantastic, keep it coming!! Lots for me to follow up. Just a bit more info for you all! :
She owns her flat and has savings of over £50,000. No assessments done yet as dont want SS involvement yet. She does still have capacity at the present time, but her memory is deteriorating. I have ben using POA since 2015 but she still has her own bank cards and takes money out etc. So she takes money out for me but I also take amounts out also with my card. £300 every week. She keeps saying I need to take it while I can!! If she takes out £3,000 herself is that permitted??
As for myself, I recieve housing benefit, income support and carers allowance. So the prospect of having an agreement for "payment" is problematic. Hence cash. Obviously I definately need some sort of legal agreement for the future, but what.
I have considered ways of moving things around, but it seems almost impossible for it to go unseen. It really makes me sick when you watch Panorama and how the very rich can hide large amounts of money with impunity, while those who struggle pay in full. Life's a bitch!
If you and mum had a joint account, then that would take you above the savings limit for Income Support, so that idea is no good. I believe that Mum is allowed under the tax rules to give you £3,000 as a gift every year.
The advantage of mum having a Needs Assessment at this stage, is that it would identify how much help Social Services think she needs at the moment, but if mum has over the savings limit they wouldn't pay anything towards it.
It's good to hear that mum really appreciates what you are doing for her, and understands you need money to live on, so many don't!
Are you an only child? Sole beneficiary for her will?
blueriver7 wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:44 pm
As for myself, I recieve housing benefit, income support and carers allowance. So the prospect of having an agreement for "payment" is problematic. Hence cash. Obviously I definately need some sort of legal agreement for the future, but what.
I have considered ways of moving things around, but it seems almost impossible for it to go unseen. It really makes me sick when you watch Panorama and how the very rich can hide large amounts of money with impunity, while those who struggle pay in full. Life's a bitch!
If you are not declaring the £300 a week she gives you to the DWP then are you not a benefit cheat?
Just to correct you, thats in total and covers her taxis, cleaner, clubs etc. She spends money like water, as she's very actve and goes out and about every day thank you.
That's why it's so important to keep good records- so you can answer any accusations.