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Case Study: Challenging a Decision that an Elderly Care Home Resident Should Fund her own Care Fees

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How Alice Macnair, Community Care Law solicitor in Brighton, successfully challenged a Local Authority’s treatment of an elderly care home resident as having “notional capital” and overturned the decision that she should self-fund her care fees.

The situation

Anna sold her home, following the death of her husband, and used the proceeds to purchase a house with her adult son and his family, where they could all live together.

Although she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, her condition was well managed. She was able to look after her grandchildren, shared the household chores and had an active social life.

Five years later, she wanted her own space and decided to move into a sheltered flat. Because it was supported accommodation, she was required to have a needs assessment by Social Services. This identified the need for three short care visits a day.

Social Service’s financial assessment process concluded with a decision that Anna had deliberately deprived herself of capital in order to avoid care costs.

The Council treated Anna as having “notional capital” of £300,000, which was the money she had invested in the new family property where her son and family continued to live. Anna did not have this money available to self-fund her care.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

Alice Macnair, Community Care Law solicitor, represented Anna in appealing against this decision. Alice argued that the avoidance of care costs had not been a significant motivation in the decision to purchase a property with her son.

Alice obtained evidence that showed that Anna did not have any care needs at the time she purchased this property. Alice argued that although Anna had a degenerative disease, it wasn’t inevitable that she would need formal care and support, to meet these needs at a later date. Anna’s motive for putting her money into the new property was so that she could live in a happy family home with company and plenty of things to keep her busy, after her bereavement.

The result

Social Services reversed their decision and agreed that Anna had not done anything wrong and had not deprived herself of capital.

Social Services undertook a new financial assessment which ignored the money in the family home so that it would not have to be sold to pay for Anna’s care.

If you are a considering gifting money or property it is important to seek professional advice first. If you have already transferred assets and are now facing deprivation of capital allegations, or require advice on Planning and Paying for Care, we can help. Contact us on 01273 609911, or email to find out more.

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