Care home fees - what happens when the money runs out?

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hi All,

Just wondering whether anyone can advise what happens to an elderly relative when their savings/cash from assets runs out please?

From my other posts here you will understand that we are exploring future options for MIL (although at the moment she wants to go home and we are reluctantly abiding by her wishes to prove that she cannot cope). Her home is worth around £160K and saving are already below the threshold. Care homes around her start at around £500+ a week, so she should have enough for around 5 years care fees ... however we want to ensure we are not hit with the bill to keep a roof over her head when this runs out. She is mentally and bodily very fit for her age, other than spinal issues meaning she can no longer walk. She could live for another 20 odd years, but it would cripple us if we had to fund her care after her money is gone. In 5 years time, hubby will be retirement age so we wouldn't have the income to support her anyway ... its scaring the life out of us at the moment, and don't want to commit ourselves to expense we cannot afford. Could they force us to release capital from our property to support her?

Any one know what happens then ...
Hi LA .... a starter for ten .... an article from the Money Advice Service site :

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/e ... ys-run-out

Age Concern also provide guidance across the whole issue :

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/home-and-care/c ... tial-care/

Quite extensive guides although legal advice may be needed for more specific answers to awkward questions.
LesleyAnne wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:34 am
Could they force us to release capital from our property to support her?
When Mil's capital runs out (savings, sale of HER property) then the LA should take over BUT

!) As a rule of thumb if MiL has over £23,500 she will be expected to fund her own care; as that sum decreases the LA will start to pick up a percentage of the fees until she is down to around £16,000 when they should then start to contribute a larger percentage; when Mil's money reaches a lower level (sorry, I can't remember the bottom limit at the moment) they will then start to pay the full amount. They will only fund up to a certain limit (each LA will have different scales of charges) so at that point it's likely they will want her to move to a cheaper care home.

2) they will try to 'guilt' trip you into picking up the bill or into picking up the difference - but - the short answer is NO they can't force you to release capital from your property to support her; in fact they can't force you to support her in any way. What property/savings you might have is irrelevant.
It's surprising how little this is understood - that for all that 'family' is held up to be, in fact not a single one of us has ANY 'duty of care' for any member of our family once they are adult. We are NOT their 'guardians' in any way at all.

To be blunt, at the extreme, we are each and every one of us entitle to walk off and leave any family member we like to 'starve in the gutter' (or whatever!!!!)

Yet so many of us think we 'HAVE' to 'look after our relatives'. (I have a bad, bad feeling this may be the case in Italy, but since we are all in the EU together, I'm surprised at that - there was somethingin the news a while back about how some poor exhausted and exploited woman was not 'allowed' to kick her lazy, unemployed, feckless adult son out of her house where he was living like a parasite at her expense and labour!)

So, blunt answer, no, you, nor your husband have ANY responsibility - financial or other! - to look after his mother. She can be 'cast upon the state' (to which, after all, she has contritubed, with her husband, a lifetime of taxes!!!!!)(ie, she's 'earned her keep' surely by the state)(and it's not her responsibility if the state has wasted her tax on rubbish).

The same remember applies to married couples. Only the HALF of their 'estate' can be taken into account by the council. So a house jointly owned of say £200k value, is only rated at half that by the council. That said, they that half, yes, has to go into the care costs - but, not, I believe, while the spouse lives in it - a charge is put to reclaim the council's expenditure when the house is finally sold, even if that's after probate.

But, as others are saying, when it comes to you and your husband, you can safely 'wash your hands' of your MIL as you don't have to pay out a penny for her - despite what the general 'con' is that you do (as Susie points out, they try and guilt you into it, and care homes go on about 'top up fees' - lots on that iniquity on this forum!)(ie, how to not be 'conned' into paying for htem - it's entirely voluntary, though they try and make it sound mandatory!).

All that said, it can be hard to see an entire house be liquidated to pay care home fees, but there you go. My own MIL is currently burning her way through the £100k she got for her flat, every month another £3k drains away (£100 a day care home fees for dementia..... and that is relatively 'cheap'!).

It's why so many folk try and preserve their eventual inheritance, by keeping care in the family. BUT, as you point out, it can be a life sentence just about. My MIL is now in her fourth year of care, and is completely and totally dependent on a team of carers - it would totally eat my life if she were with me. (I'd be dead, anyway - i'd have killed myself sooner than have my life stolen like that)(sorry, sound insane, but it felt like that before I cracked and put her in a home...sigh, sigh, sigh....all so, so, so desperately sad) (So be SO glad your MIL is compos mentes - you keep the person that way, however physically frail.)

Anyway, do hope that's set your mind at rest - you will NOT have to pay to look after your MIL.
Your mother is responsible for her fees, not you. If her money runs out, the as previously said, the Local Authority pays, not you. Presumably she is already on Attendance Allowance? She will probably be entitled to something called the NHS Funded Nursing Care Allowance as well, NOT means tested.
Don't believe anything the LA tell you about "top ups" - come back here if they start mentioning them! Ideally, get them to put anything about anything they'd like you to pay extra in an email. Say your memory isn't good, your husband deals with all the finances, whatever lie you like, but get it in writing. Then send it off to the LA Complaints Department and ask why they are demanding unlawful payments, and send it also to the local government ombudsman. I reclaimed £8,000 for my mum as they didn't play the game properly!
Just remember, never, EVER sign any agreement with the LA. The first 12 weeks of care mum should only be charged based on her income alone, not capital, if I remember rightly.
Carers UK has a brilliant helpline to help sort this out, send them an email and they will get back to you.