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Sister-in-law building extension to house MIL

(14 Posts)
Kewmum1 Sat 25-Mar-17 21:21:48

My DH has little contact with his mum because she emotionally abused DD - history of abuse when DH grew up from both MIL and FIL.

SIL recently moved MIL to the SE to be closer to her. MIL house was sold then SIL mentioned that they'd got the sums wrong and MIL could neither afford to rent or buy in the SE and therefore SIL was building a granny flat.

DH has Power of Attorney but has no idea if his DM is of sound mind. Has anyone experience of how MIL should be protected?

We suspect she is paying for the extension as a search shows that MIL's name is on the planning application.

I personally dislik MIL intensely because of her treatment of my DD. However, I think that there could be repercussions if MIL is not made a legal co-owner - particularly if she requires care in the future. She would have no capital to gain care in a decent nursing home

Falafelings Sun 26-Mar-17 07:11:35

Can you ask sil how she intends to fund the extension and what will happen when she needs to access the money for care home and after her death when sorting inheritance

Kewmum1 Sun 26-Mar-17 10:10:21

Sadly it is very difficult to have that sort of conversation with my SIL. In the past, my DH has expressed concern that SIL accepted a large sum of money for her wedding from his widowed mum. My SIL response was aggressive. We've concluded that asking those questions will not lead to constructive conversations. I suspect that we will simply have to leave it alone, or get some sort of legal advice. I'm not sure who we should consult as we need to understand what the law is around gifts and liability for care costs.

I've had long conversations with a wise friend on the inheritance issue. It hurts to be left out - naturally it would have felt so much kinder to be consulted and to have the option to say it sounds sensible to have MIL cared for by a family member and feel that we were part of the decision making process. But we weren't and that is painful - particularly because of the history of abuse and complicated feelings around 'fairness'. We're not going to be able to change the family dynamics and so for sanity's sake should 'park' it. Painful though.

wavinghello Sun 26-Mar-17 16:44:49

At the moment, children are not legally liable for the costs of caring for their parents in their old age. Aside from any moral sense of moral duty, love and obligation.

I would rather my SIL looked after my MIL than DH and inevitably me. Personally, I would not begrudge MIL funding her own granny annexe at her daughter's home. I'd rather not have her money tbh....but I've reached the stage of letting go and prefer distance and detachment regarding my own MIL. I've got my own set of parents to worry about when the time comes. It's your DH's issue - if he's not bothered, why should you be?

Kewmum1 Sun 26-Mar-17 20:08:08

Thank you, and I understand that children aren't liable for costs of caring for parents - except when a gift has been made to a child within a certain number of years, and then the Local Authority will look at the elderly person's finances and if they find a gift was made to avoid care costs then they will expect the beneficiary to pay.

I don't think my SIL has considered that. My SIL will not be able to provide 24 hour care should my MIL need it because she has a career and has a 6 year old child. My concern is that I've been following Radio 4 Today programme's report on elderly care. It seems to be a two tier system where those who can afford care fees have a good choice of homes, whereas those relying on the State are finding it increasingly difficult to be accepted by care homes, because the Local Authority doesn't pay them so well. We could find ourselves in a situation where my MIL has no money to pay and no place to go when she needs it.

Has anyone experience of planning for elderly care, or experience of the system once you need care?

Mrsdarcyiwish10 Mon 27-Mar-17 09:50:32

My grandfather sold his house and gifted half to his daughter and son equally. His son my DF died and then my grandfather died. The local council and his care home made us pay for his care as they said he should have kept the proceeds from the sale for his care.

In the end his daughter and myself had to pay for his care home for the 18 months till his death. I would advise you get legal advice as your DH may end up equally liable for care cost even though he has none of e house proceeds.

Hope this makes sense.

halcyondays Mon 27-Mar-17 09:59:53

You couldn't find yourself in a position where your mil would have nowhere to go but it doesn't sound as though your SIL could care for your sister long term.

Could your DH find out from her doctor if she is still considered of sound mind? What happened to the money when MIL's house was sold, if she had to go into a care home, which sounds likely, they would expect the money to be used to pay for her care.

Not sure about the two tier system, all care homes are expensive and paying more doesn't necessarily mean better. Even if you have capital, you aren't allowed to pay your own top up feees yourself.

halcyondays Mon 27-Mar-17 10:05:59

you are right, if a large sum of money was given away recently, they could ask for it back. You should get legal advice, it could get complicated and your dh has power of attorney so is involved financially.

Floralnomad Mon 27-Mar-17 10:13:51

Why not just let the sister have POA and then leave her to it , it seems ridiculous that your DH has so much input when really he has no involvement with his mother , and indeed doesn't even want the involvement . It could be that your MIl will be able to live in the granny annex with no or just a bit of care going in for years yet .

Kewmum1 Mon 27-Mar-17 17:03:36

Thank you very much for this advice. I had not considered that we may be liable for care costs, even if my DH receives no inheritance. It is worth consulting a solicitor to ensure we aren't left in that position. I am sorry that you found yourselves in that predicament.

Kewmum1 Mon 27-Mar-17 17:09:34

I also take the point that POA is incredibly difficult in this situation, with little contact. It would be tragic though if DH couldn't contribute to his mum's well-being in her final years. The family history is so sad, but it still seems the right thing to do to make sure MIL is well looked after. Then we can at least look back and know that we did the right thing. Maybe get some closure on the past.

Thank you all for taking the time to advise. Much appreciated.

Haffdonga Mon 27-Mar-17 17:25:34

SIL would only be liable for care home costs if it was deemed deliberate deprivation of assets i.e. that your MIL had gifted SIL the money to avoid paying the fees. But MIL is clearly not doing that here. She's making a seemingly sensible investment to pay for suitable accommodation for herself to live in hopefully reducing the need for her to go into a home. So I think the care home fee fear is a red herring.

Surely though, if your dh has POA he will need to be a signatory on any large spending decisions MIL makes. Could he get involved (and make sure MIL is protected) by letting SIL know she needs him on her side? e.g. Hi SIL Great that you're doing this for mum. Obviously as I have POA for her you'll be needing me to sign off some stuff as it all goes through. Let me know what you need and I'll try to make sure that it works out fairly for you and mum. Love Kewmumdh

Mrsdarcyiwish10 Mon 27-Mar-17 17:55:20

That's not always true. My grandfather did gift the monies for the right reasons but the council solicitors still decided he has deliberately given away his assets. Unfortunately we did not see it coming in time and caused a high family rift.

picklemepopcorn Mon 27-Mar-17 18:23:36

Has the POA been invoked/activated yet? You can be on POA docs, but to make them active you have to apply for that to happen. That has to be agreed to by other parties, like SiL and possibly MiL. Has that happened yet?

If you need to do that because you feel she is vulnerable, and other people object, then it goes to a guardian type person to decide. Sorry, I can't remember the correct terminology.

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