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Mum and dad - Carers UK Forum

Mum and dad

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Hi,
My dad has dementia Dad is in a care home. My Mum has been living with me for a couple of years now after falling and breaking her shoulder and elbow and was unable to look after herself. My house is not really suitable for Mum and this was meant to be a temporary stay until she was well enough to go back to her home but she now has dementia and needs me to assist her . I have court of protection for my dad and LPA for mum,
if I sold mum and dads house would it be feasible to join the funds of the sale of my house and theirs to buy something more suitable for Mum, me and my husband, or am I going to run into problems if mum needs to go into a nursing home i.e will I have to sell the new home to fund her care home.
Sally
Hi Sally and welcome to the forum.
PoA is about acting in the best interests of the individual, ideally through discussion this with the person concerned. Are you able to discuss it with your mum or is the dementia too far advanced?
Also, are you the only one who will inherent? Do you know what's in your parents wills? If you have siblings, a family conference might be necessary.
I don't know where you would stand on jointly owned property when residential care is needed. Might be useful to email/phone Carers UK for some definative guidance.
Jx
There is a lot to consider here. It's really good that you have POA, thank goodness. Definitely speak to the Carers UK helpline. There are all sorts of options, you could consider renting, or using some of the money from the sale of mum's house to buy something like an annuity for mum's future care (I can't remember the formal name for this I'm afraid) but it is certainly a very specialist problem which you need good financial advice for. In the meantime, is mum receiving Attendance Allowance? Have Social Services done a Needs Assessment for mum and a Carers Assessment for you?
Yes, definitely a lot to consider! You don't mention, I think, how your dad's care is being funded - I'm assuming he is self-funding otherwise the value of your parent's house and of course their savings etc would be taken into account by the council (even if they can't touch it - or at least 'yet' if your mum is still 'officially' resident in the parental home?)

I would surmise that 'in principle' to be very, VERY cautious about linking your and your husband's finances (ie, the value of your existing house) with your parents' finances, and make absolutely sure you retain the flexibility to 'pull out' of any arrangements if your own circumstances change (you divorce, are widowed, your husband made redundant, whatever!) (horrid to think about, but sadly these things can happen). ANd yes, definitely definitely nail down whether you would be required to sell up totally to fund your parents care from the proceeds, or if that can be deferred until after their joint deaths (or indefinitely? or until you actually sell the joint property in your own time?)

Also, I think a 'bigger' question has to be 'Do I want to inherit anything from my parents, or would I rather they spent their money on their care, rather than me save money by doing it myself?'. Some members here have opted for the latter - ie, they are doing their own 'DIY' care for their parents, but on the expectation that it will save money which they can then eventually inherit, and some, like me (!), have opted for the former - my MIL is now spending all her money on her residential care, and there will be nothing left when she eventually dies. I've opted for this because (a) she didn't have massive assets anyway and (b) she is likely to 'outlive' her money, and then have to go on to council funding.

Obviously, the key person to discuss all this with is your husband (and what is the situation with his own parents - will they need care/funding etc etc?).

You say you intend your mum to live with your permanently, but, again, this raises all sorts of questions beyond the 'mere' financial - what does your husband think of this, will you have to give up your job/life, what role will care-workers play, etc etc etc.

If both your parents have dementia and are 'self-funding' for a good while yet, one option might be for them BOTH to be 'at home' (ie, their own home!) but with a live-in care-worker to look after them. That might be no more expensive than paying for two residential places (might even be cheaper), and would make the logistics of visiting and any 'cover care' or 'extra care' etc by you somewhat easier than having them in different places etc etc etc.

Finally, BB mentioned 'care annuities' - there was mention of this on a recent You and Yours programe, which is probably still on line, about the (very limited!) options for paying for elder care. The mention of annuities said that ironically, the older the person, the more likely they are to 'live longer' - ie, if they make it past 80 the stats on their keeping going actually improve. The bottom line, of course, was that care annuities are very expensive, and you take a real gamble on the person living long enough to 'get their fair share'. Personally they don't sound very attractive to me - but then I hate annuities anyway in principle!

So, loads to think about, but dfinitely check out the implications of pooling your resources with your parents. What might work well for a short time, if both have fairly short life expectations, is not what might work if their care/nursing needs rise and they live a long, long time - let alone if your own circumstances change in unforeseen ways.

No easy decisions alas!

All the best with whatever you decide, Jenny
Hi Sally
I'm no expert at all, but I think that if you sold you parent's house half of the proceeds would immediately add to Dad's assets which would affect his care fees if he is not self funding. Presuming their house is in joint names that is.
Could your present home be extended? What about renting out Mum and Dad's home, and then charging Mum rent yourself? The rent you charge her could then be put towards the extension.
Or, if you sell the house, get a new one on your own finances but still ask Mum to pay rent which, together with her attendance allowance might be enough to cover the new mortgage? The problem with that might be if when parents have both passed on there might not be enough money left to cover the new mortgage. That is if you are the sole heir. Plus, as you say, Mum herself might need a Care Home.
Also if Mum and Dad have any cash assets, they are allowed to 'gift', the last time I looked which was years ago, an annual amount, about £3,000.00 then, without tax implications and it should be possible to go back a few years.
However don't take my word on that without looking into it.
Take your time to research all the options and implications.
Good luck
Elaine
Hi Sally,

As everyone has mentioned, this is a complicated area where you need specialist legal advice to avoid being accused of "deprivation of assets".

I can only tell you from my own experience of selling a jointly owned house to fund my mum's own care. The Local Authority looks to see if the house became jointly owned to avoid being liable for care home fees. The golden timeframe is 7 years. If the house has become jointly owned within that time of the person entering care, they may TRY to claim that house is part of the caree's assets. Before doing anything, I would speak to Carers UK Adviceline.

I also got very well reasoned advice FREE from this organisation. It may be at least worth reading their information before doing anything:

http://www.housingcare.org/downloads/kbase/3091.pdf

Good luck, not an easy situation. Ask away if we can ask again.

Thanks,
Anne
Anne, worryingly (terrifyingly??!), the same You and Yours programme I mentioned above on annuities, also made a passing remark about deprivation of assets that 'it used to be 7 years but now it's indefinite'....that INCREDIBLY alarming statement passed without comment or explanation, and obviously requires HUGE investigation!

Is the council REALLY entitled to go back before seven years? Loads of parents now want to give their house/part of the proceeds if sold to downsize, to their children, as deposits for starter homes, and to minimise inheritance tax, but if the council is going to be able to come after us/our children 'indefinitely' that is incredibly worrying!

Actually, I think it's something that Carers UK really out to get to the bottom of....

Personaly, I'm in the fortunate position of not relying financially on my MIL's assets, and she is 'free' to use them all up on herself and her own care - no one in the family (fortunately) 'needs' them, and they were modest anyway - but it's quite, quite different for me! I'll have to tell my son to take me out and shoot me rather than have a Home Counties house filched from him to pay for me in care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi Everyone
Thank you for replying.
I will try to answer some of the questions put forward but will phone carers uk for advice.

Dad is 91 and part self funding and council pay remainder.
He is not able to discuss the property as he is too far advanced. He is also unable to live at home as he was getting aggressive with the carers and mum.

We are still waiting for COP to give permission to sell their home. Mum is 87 and has slight dementia mainly very forgetful and slightly confused at times.
I have asked her what she would like to do and she has said she never wants to go into a care home like dads in and wants to move much nearer me or stay living with me. We cannot extend our house any further and cant afford to buy anything in our area with enough room for mum as she needs at least a couple of downstairs rooms and a shower room etc. I thought it would be idea for us to pool resources and buy something suitable for all of us.
I have a brother who lives abroad and a sister who has lost her only child and is in no fit state to help.
Mum has joint tenancy for their home and has left her share of the house to us and dad has left his half to mum.
They have very little money and all their assets are in the house..

My husband has lost both parents and is very caring with mum and only wants her to do what she wants and has said she can stay with us as long as we can all manage. My husband will be 60 next year and we were told that if anyone lived in the house over the age of 60 the house could not be taken into account, but until I get advice I really don't know what to do for the best.
You do need good, professional, advice. I still think that once their house is sold it will affect the contribution towards Dad's care in the Home.
The brutal question, for which I apologise, is, with advanced dementia, how long has dad got?
I would count on Mum's half of the proceeds from the sale only. Then if some of the other half comes her way it will be a bonus and could be used to pay for care in your home to help you out as her needs increase. That sounds very unfeeling. Don't mean to be.
Once the house is sold, the Will as it seems to stand, won't count surely? If there's no house to sell, you can't be left half of it. That may be something that needs to be addressed while mum is still able to make a Will, unless that possibility is already covered.
Plus, will your siblings not expect something? Or are they happy that as Mum's carers you deserve the bulk of any inheritance? By the way, you don't actually have to give answers to questions on here, unless you want to. It's a sort of 'something to think about' exercise, not a quiz!
So I suppose the plan would be, to buy a house together, make sure the will says she leaves you her share of any home she currently owns or part owns, or the proceeds from any sale of her property. (What would happen if Mum's house was sold and then she passed away before the new one was purchased? It wouldn't be property then, it would be cash). Then look after Mum at home for as long as possible, which may well be until the end. Big question is, as far as LA funding goes, does buying a house jointly with you count as 'deprivation of assets?. I think it might. Doesn't matter if you can self fund Mum for as long as it takes. Could be 10 years or so. You ought to plan for that long.
You need an expert, which I am most definitely not. Hope it all works out.
Elaine