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Avoiding Care Home Fees

(25 Posts)
soapboxqueen Wed 13-Jun-18 20:30:59

If an elderly person sells their home and puts the cash into a joint account with another person, does that protect the cash from being used towards care costs because it would be seen as not solely their cash anymore?

I say not because the council would want to see proof of where the money from the sale of an asset had gone and wouldn't be fooled by a joint account.

RainbowCookie Wed 13-Jun-18 20:34:00

No they are wise to all the usual tricks. Anything in a joint account would be split in half obviously. Even if you put it another persons account it would be seen as deprivation of assets and they’d claw it back.

soapboxqueen Wed 13-Jun-18 20:38:02

Would they actually split ownership of the money between two joint account holders even if the property sold only belonged to one of them?

hatgirl Wed 13-Jun-18 20:41:33

Nope wouldn't work in the slightest.

It would be seen as deliberate deprivation of assets.

The person would still be charged/assessed as if they had the money available to them in their own account.

MrsSquiggler Wed 13-Jun-18 20:45:11

If the money is in a joint account they do split it 50:50. But if the money came from the sale of a property owned by the person needing care, they have essentially given away that other 50%. So, deprivation of capital - and they'd be treated as it if they still had 100% of the cash. You can't get round the rules that easily!

soapboxqueen Wed 13-Jun-18 20:46:58

That's what I assumed hatgirl but you know when people are just so adamant you start to doubt yourself.

I assumed that the council would want to see a paper trail of where the money from the asset had gone and if a 3rd party claimed some part of that money via a joint account they'd have to prove they had some financial stake in the original property.

PestymcPestFace Wed 13-Jun-18 20:49:10

If you want to inherit all of the elderly person's money, you have to roll up your sleeves and look after the person yourself.

soapboxqueen Wed 13-Jun-18 20:49:52

Mrs What happens to a person needing care who has no money left but is deemed to have deprived the council of cash to pay for it? Do they just get thrown out of their care home?

soapboxqueen Wed 13-Jun-18 20:50:49

Pesty the people hoping to gain have no intention of doing that.

PestymcPestFace Wed 13-Jun-18 20:51:58

I presume the council pursue the person who has ripped off the elderly person and left them unable to provide for themselves.

superram Wed 13-Jun-18 20:53:34

soapbox queen- they may be moved somewhere cheaper but the council will go after ‘the other share’ through the courts-and win.

If you live 7 years after the ‘gift’ then you could possibly keep the money but will face tax issues if more than £3000 which it will be.

PestymcPestFace Wed 13-Jun-18 20:54:07

Soap they are financially abusing the elderly person. A person should be in charge of their own care as long as possible. Even if it leaves little inheritance.

hatgirl Wed 13-Jun-18 20:54:49

The council wouldn't be interested in where the money went in that sense. They elderly person could have dontated it all to the RSPCA for all it matters.

As far as they are concerned a house has been sold and the capital from that is considered as part of the financial assessment. If the person has already disposed of that capital then that is their problem.

Councils can and do take people to court to enforce payment. More so now than ever given how cash strapped they are.

soapboxqueen Wed 13-Jun-18 21:05:46

Just to say I agree with you all. It's entirely shitty but said elderly person is using savings at the moment and so isn't currently in any hardship. I don't think (or at least I hope) that the other joint account holder would allow anything bad to happen.

I just think the money should be for their use only and 'joint accounts' just make them more vulnerable.

hatgirl Wed 13-Jun-18 21:06:08

superram common misconception there, the 7 years thing doesn't apply to care home funding. The council can go back as far as they like if they suspect deliberate deprivation of assets.

I kind of answered it in my previous post but we crossed posts about what would actually happen in this situation. The elderly person would be taken to court for the money by the council if the care home fees weren't paid and the council felt the person had the mental capacity to take that court of action.

If the council felt that the elderly person lacked capacity and it was the actions of the person's relatives that had caused the deliberate deprivation of assets then depending on the circumstances they would probably attempt to involve the police as part of an adult safeguarding enquiry. This may then lead to a criminal investigation/charge for the relatives, but the council probably wouldn't seek to evict the elderly person in the meantime.

The vast majority of the times I have seen this play out in real life (either scenario) the council have usually managed to pursuade the family to cough up before it's got to the court/police stage.

The very rare times the families have gone the whole way to court it has been a long and traumatic processes for everyone involved.

MrsSquiggler Wed 13-Jun-18 21:07:50

The council has to provide a basic level of care but they can and will pursue the person to whom the capital has been transferred for the cost of that care. They could also bring criminal charges as it is essentially fraud. And/or, they could apply to have the person made bankrupt and set aside / reverse the gift.

happinessiseggshaped Thu 14-Jun-18 12:01:18

Wont they want to spend it on their care so they get the best they can get rather than the cheapest available which is what the council generally will use??

Owllady Thu 14-Jun-18 12:04:57

I've recently had a contribution to care financial assessment for my eldest child who is in supported living and the local authority have access to all sorts of your data.

SausageEggAndChips Thu 14-Jun-18 12:06:24

I've recently read an article stating that some Councils are clawing back money from family that have been gifted or loaned money from the person in care, even from years ago.

soapboxqueen Thu 14-Jun-18 12:37:27

happiness I agree but I think the people in question are attempting to protect as far as possible, monies they deem to be theirs. I don't think they see it as a risk to the elderly person.

I'm sure in their minds they are just being prudent. I just feel the rights and needs of said elderly person are taking a back seat to them protecting their assets.

I honestly don't think they'll let anything really bad happen. I just think it creates an extra hurdle for no benefit to anyone but themselves.

notthe1Parrot Thu 14-Jun-18 12:48:29

What about the many parents in their 70s who finance a house deposit for their adult children whilst in good health themselves? The elderly parents may provide a large deposit, particularly in London, and then unfortunately in the next year or two (perhaps after a stroke), need to pay for care. Surely that can’t be deliberate deprivation of assets?

hatgirl Thu 14-Jun-18 14:38:53

That's correct parrot, its essentially all about intention and timing.

Fit, healthy 70 year olds helping out with house deposits out of savings and within normal tax thresholds and not appearing to be deliberately disposing of assets with the intention of avoiding future care home fees, who then experience an entirely unpredictable stroke a few years later = not a problem.

70 year olds (although age is to an extent irrelevant) with multiple health problems and already needing a bit of support at home, selling up to go into rented accommodation or live with family and 'gifting' large sums of money to various relatives = potential problem.

The thing is though that people who do this and think they are gaming the system usually buy into two misconceptions. The first being that as they get older they will inevitably end up in a care home. The vast majority of people don't, so reorganising finances purely for this reason and making yourself vulnerable financially in later years is generally pointless anyway.

The second misconception is that even if they do end up in a care home they will receive exactly the same level of choice and the same standard of care from the council as someone who is paying for the care themselves. In reality the state will actually only pay for the most basic level of care required, and only at the point of last resort, and the 'last resort' threshold for most councils is very high.

It may look like the person in the room next door who is state funded gets the exact same service, but in reality they have nowhere near the same amount of choice as someone who is able to fund it themselves. They won't be able to fund all of the 'extras' that care homes can offer to make later years a little bit better, like trips out, haircuts, new clothes, hand massages, newspapers, a glass of wine at dinner etc etc. The people funding themselves can choose which home they want to go to and when they want to go.

notthe1Parrot Thu 14-Jun-18 16:29:06

Thank you, hatgirl, for such a comprehensive reply.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Fri 15-Jun-18 08:35:47

When trying to find ways to avoid care costs (leaving aside for the moment the fact that councils are with good reason VERY eagle eyed on deprivation of assets) people often seem to think it's a simple matter.
When it's time for a care home, if you have funds, you pay. If you don't, or have conveniently squirrelled them away, the council will.

In practice, speaking from experience (2 close relatives with dementia) it can be a 'luxury' to be self funded. You can choose the time and place, and are not dependent on the tender mercies of severely cash-strapped social services.

Many family carers who really are dependent on social services are driven to the ends of their exhausted, stressed-out tethers before SS will help to any significant extent. This particularly applies if the person needing care is living with family, since SS are well aware that you are not going to walk out and leave them.

I heard of one carer who became so desperate (parent with dementia) that she told SS that if they didn't do something NOW, she was going to take her parent to A & E and leave him there. And only then did they find a placement for him.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Fri 15-Jun-18 08:50:50

I would just add, that the dementia-only care home where my mother spent her last years, although by no means the most expensive, was extremely good, and I know for a fact that many of the residents - maybe as many as half - were not self funded. As far as I could see during countless visits, they received exactly the same level of care as the self funded.
The difference was that fees for the self funded were significantly higher than for the SS funded. In care homes that take both, the self funded will always be subsidising to some extent those who are not.
We never had any quarrel with this, however - we were only too grateful to find such a good care home with a room available when it was urgently needed.

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