Carer in 2 Places

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Hello, I'm new on this forum. I've been the carer for my partner for 10 years and this year started being a carer (at a distance) for my brother. My partner has Huntington's Disease. I live with him. My brother has mental illness. He lives alone in a different area. I'm very stretched by the sudden involvement with my brother because of my status in Law as his "Nearest Relative" under The Mental Health Act 1983... My brother is in a psychiatric hospital ward because he lacks 'capacity' to understand his situation and my question is:-
"Do I have to pay for my brother's garden and flat to be cleared? - This is because it is buried to 6 feet deep with all sorts of rubbish: bags, slabs of wood, luggage cases, childs' buggy, mattresses, bedframes, etc., and inaccessible except by climbing over & through. I'm told the inside of his flat is uninhabitable and equally full with junk he has hoarded!...
"Is there a statutory duty like a social fund that local Councils can use to pay for contractors to clear extreme hoarding with potential environmental health dangers? - Best regards.
I've not heard of Nearest Relative, but unless it confers some kind of binding legal guardianship of your brother, you have, in principle, NO 'duty of care' towards him, including financial.

None of us has any such 'duty of care' towards a relative (other than a child, as in non-adult child).

So I can't see you have any financial responsibility for clearing his garden and flat. That said, if it is his property, then maybe the council don't either unless there is a clear health hazard to other residents etc? They may have powers for that, but whether they have to pay, I doubt it.

Who is dealing with your brother's finances now he is sectioned? Do you have Power of Attorney? If you do, you may be forced, I suppose, by the council, to exercise such as to either pay for the health-hazard clearance (if such exists) or, if there are no funds in your brother's bank accounts or whatever, you may have to sell the property to raise the money to clear it????

It's a tricky situation. Others here may know more clearly about the legalities, and there is always the team of experts on Carers UK itself to contact if necessary.

What is the council currently saying?
Hello Frederick
I am sorry to hear of your double predicament. I have no experience of Huntingtons so cant help there, but I do have some experience of a relative spending time in a mental hospital.
Firstly the term 'Nearest Relative' has a very strict definition within the various Mental Health Acts. It means you will be informed, and sometimes, involved, at certain stages of your brother's care and treatment, but as far as I am aware it doesn't carry any financial responsibility for him or his property. You might find it useful to be appointed, if he agrees , to be his DWP appointee so you can deal with any benefits in the future.
A lot will depend on what section, if any he is being treated under. If he is being detained under a section 3, i.e. against his will, this means when he is discharged it will be under s117 and all his care thereafter is provided free of charge.
There's lots about this on the Mind website, and I suggest you start getting yourself clued up asap. ... al-rights/

Regarding his property, does he own it or rent it? That will have bearing on what can or cannot happen.
At some point he should have a mental health social worker appointed and they should have information for you as I am sure they deal with this on a regular basis. Sometimes they are called AMHP, although the terms will vary. Speak to the ward team at the hospital and ask that they put you in touch with who you need. Like with physical illness that will be thinking about discharge plans from the outset
Try also his local council 're clearing the property, but do remember they will try to avoid costs if they think someone else (i.e. you) will pay.
Mind has helpline for relatives and they will have a lot of info for you too.
It's also worth noting your brother is probably entitled to an independent advocate, and to free legal advice, if he needs either

Sadly, you are probably in for a long haul, so arm and prepare yourself with information while you can
Carers UK has a brilliant helpline which will be able to give the very best advice.
However, to be getting on with, it's important that someone is dealing with his benefits on his behalf. The DWP have an "appointee" scheme which can be used for someone who doesn't have "mental capacity" . I am appointee for my son who has learning difficulties, and also had it for mum in law who had dementia.

He will be receiving his pension or other benefits whilst in hospital, and it should be THIS money which is used to clear up, if necessary. However, having seen some of the TV programmes, I know under some circumstances the council will do the work. Maybe the first question should be "Will he ever be fit for discharge to live there again or is he incapable of looking after himself and therefore needs residential care"
The second is, "Does he own it himself?"
If you don't want to be appointee, then you can ask the local council Social Services Department "Client Affairs Team" to deal with everything.
A lot depends on whether or not you feel you are able to do this whilst looking after your partner as well.
Hello. I just want to say "Thankyou" to my 3 repliers. It's good advice. Mostly I do need to get 'clued up' as one person told me to do. - The website for Mind is one I'd not thought about. I'll take a look.
Personally, I can't see ANY circumstances in which YOU have to spend YOUR money on anything to do with your brother, including clearing his flat etc.

I know the phrase 'I am not my brother's keeper' can sound a bit bleak (!) but in law, I can't see it being untrue.

As I say, in the end, we have NO legal duty of care or responsibility for anyone else, other than (possibly) a child (and even those we can walk away from and they are put into care.....)

Don't OFFER to pay ANYTHING - cash-strapped councils will jump at the chance that you've been 'fooled' into forking out!

I'm sorry your brother is in psychiatric hospital, but really, that is the best place for him (and, given how the NHS is getting rid of psych beds/wards, he's lucky to be there!)......

The dreadful shades of Yes Minister are truer than ever:

Jim Hacker: (Appalled) But Humphrey, you can't just close mental hospitals and throw mentally ill people out on to the streets!

Sir H: (Smoothly) You can if you call it 'Care in the Community', Minister.

Shameful then, shameful now.