How Clare English, one of our expert Community Care lawyers, provided care home fee advice to the adult children of an elderly man with care needs, and ensured that his wife could manage financially after his move into care.
Mr Kelly had been in hospital for 3 months with a neurological condition and was ready for discharge. The treating physicians and hospital social work team told Mrs Kelly that her husband’s care needs were too extensive for him to return home and that he would require residential care. Mr and Mrs Kelly lived in Brighton but their sons, John and Marcus, lived some distance away. They had been supporting their mother while their father was in hospital but it was not easy to do this from a distance.
They tried to help their mother choose a care home, but the finances were difficult as they needed to leave their mother with enough money to pay the bills and look after herself.
The situation was complicated by the fact that Mr Kelly had not made Lasting Powers of Attorney. This meant that no one had authority to manage his property and financial affairs now that he had lost capacity to do so himself. John and Marcus were worried about care home fee debts because they were not be able to access their dad’s bank account to pay for his care.
Clare met with John and Mrs Kelly at our offices in Brighton and Marcus was able to join the conversation by telephone from Scotland. Clare went through the Social Services financial assessment rules with the family, focusing on Mr Kelly’s income, property and savings. She explained that Mrs Kelly was entitled to keep 50% of her husband’s occupational pension once he went into care.
Clare advised on the timescale it would take for Social Services to decide whether Mr Kelly would be eligible for funding of his care home fees, and how long he might need to self-fund his care. Clare explained that Mr Kelly should be eligible for Attendance Allowance, and how to claim this benefit. Clare reassured Mrs Kelly that she would not lose her home because the Spouse Property Disregard would be applied by Social Services once Mr Kelly moved into the care home. This meant that the value of Mr Kelly’s share of the marital home would be ignored.
Clare advised Mr Kelly’s two sons to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as Deputies for Property and Finance. This would make sure that they had the authority to use his money to pay for his care fees.
Mrs Kelly and her sons appreciated and were reassured by Clare’s advice. John and Marcus were able to continue to support their mother during this difficult time to help her with the decisions she needed to make about her own circumstances and their fathers care. Clare helped John and Marcus make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as Mr Kelly’s Deputies.
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