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Care & carers

Care Home Fees

(60 Posts)
bentley49 Thu 04-Apr-13 10:48:54

There are so many people wanting to avoid care home fees these days.
In my view everything possible should be done to recover the fees from the family.
I would say it is ok for a spouse to leave their half of the house to the children but care home fees should take prority so if the other spouse has to go in to care if his / her half of the house is used to pay the fees the person who inherited the other half should be liable.
Also if a husband / wife occupies the house when their spouse is in care a charge should be put on the house so the fees could be recovered when it is sold.
Another thing they could do is put a limit on how much a person can inherit in his or her life say £200,000.
Any more should be taken and used for the care of other people.
If there are insufficient assetts wealthy children should be held liable.
If the children have houses which are too large for their needs or savings over £100k they should be made to pay the care home fees.


sunseeker Thu 04-Apr-13 13:14:37

cue Frank

HUNTERF Thu 04-Apr-13 13:35:41

Yes I have seen this post and will be composing a reply.


HUNTERF Thu 04-Apr-13 15:56:53


A person can not be held liable for another person's care fees.
A spouse is entitled to will his / her property to whoever he or she desires. It will then not be the property of the person needing care and it can not be used without the consent of the beneficiary.
If a house is in the husbands sole name and he has to go in to care it is unlawful to sell or put a charge on the property at present even if it is in his sole name.
Also the wife may be able to prevent a charge being put on the property under the married woman property act.
If the property is in joint names and the joint owner is still living in the property he / she has the right to occupy it indefinitely so the value of the joint owners share is nil as nobody will buy half a house with somebody in it.
With regard to putting limits on an amount a person can inherit it would act as a disincentive for a person to work and create wealth if they know their wealth will not go to the son / daughter when they pass away.
Also people may get round the regulations for example by leaving £200,000 to their son, £200,000 to their daughter in law and £200,000 for each of the grandchildren.
With regards to your proposals to take care fees from wealthy children if this happens you will remove the incentive for them to save for retirement if people know the money could be taken for the parent's care fees.
£100,000 may sound a lot but if the children are about to retire or just retired the money could be their retirement nest egg.
Also what would you do if the children are abroad and not subject to UK law.
Another problem could happen here. If one child is in the UK and another is not and if the one who is abroad refuses to pay are you going to make the one in the UK pay all the fees?.


Nonu Thu 04-Apr-13 16:14:54

Well said Hunterf

sunseeker Thu 04-Apr-13 16:25:44

A well reasoned response Frank

HUNTERF Thu 04-Apr-13 17:28:59

Anybody is welcome to add to my reply as I am sure 1 person can not think of everything.


bluebell Thu 04-Apr-13 17:45:31

Bentley - it was a very brave post. At least you were trying to come up with some ideas because whatever our views on this, more and more people will need care and it will have to be paid for. The present situation and the govt's proposals are riddled with unfairnesses which people like Frank encourage but none of that solves the problem. I wish I could think of a fair solution but there will always be ways round any ideas.

shysal Thu 04-Apr-13 17:47:15

Who else thinks the OP is a wind-up?hmm

Ana Thu 04-Apr-13 17:47:42

In what way does Frank encourage unfairness? hmm

Nonu Thu 04-Apr-13 17:49:07

Shysal , never thought of it that way .
It is possible

j08 Thu 04-Apr-13 17:58:02

Why would it be a wind-up? Perfectly valid post.

gracesmum Thu 04-Apr-13 18:16:03

I think the kindest thing is to leave Frank and Gerry to debate this ad nauseam at length until one or other retires exhausted. Oh no, that's bare knuckle fighting isn't it?grin

annodomini Thu 04-Apr-13 18:43:58

shysal, whether a wind-up was intended or not, it's certainly had that effect!

Greatnan Thu 04-Apr-13 18:58:13

Some very rich people have taken the decision not to leave billions to their children, such as Bill Gates. They think it will sap the children's own ambition.

HUNTERF Thu 04-Apr-13 21:00:07


Gerry's proposals would not just catch the rich.
There are people who I went to school with who were bought up on the council estate.
They have gone and got reasonable careers and now own 3 bedroom semi detached houses generally worth about £180,000 to £200,000 in good area's and may have some savings which they hope to leave to the next generation.
If say one of the parents got dementia probably the council may say a one bedroom high rise flat is adequate for them now as their children have mainly left home.
There are some 1 bedroom flats available around Birmingham for less than £70,000 but I would not fancy living in them.
Also those children would be in no better position than if they had done little or no work and expected the council to provide them with a house.
I am not using myself as an example as my house has been built up through the efforts of 3 generations and I think my school friends will hope their offspring will improve on what they have done.
Probably I should have said 4 because I have paid for repairs / improvements even though I contributed nothing to the purchase of the house.


ninathenana Fri 05-Apr-13 00:00:45

It's not just those who "have done little or no work" who find themselves in need rather than "expect" to get social housing. SIL served his country for 9 yrs in army before being made redundant. DD has worked since before she left school.
They lived in married quarters. SIL didn't earn enough to save for deposit. So they are now in need.

HUNTERF Fri 05-Apr-13 09:55:29


I am not saying there are people who are not genuinely in need.
I knew somebody who served in the RAF for 6 years + and then got another job for about 20 years and was then not able to work due to sudden disability. Sadly he has now passed away.
I think Gerry is saying that any of the children in the sort of situation I described earlier should lose a lot of their assets.
I know a few people who were told not to worry about paying top up for example as their parents would only last a few months.
In some of the cases they are still alive nearly 5 years later and if Gerry's proposed rules are implemented they would have very little.
All these people have either retired or just about to retire so they would have no chance of buying another house or replacing their savings.


HUNTERF Fri 05-Apr-13 10:11:57

Thinking about it I am a little surprised Gerry has not come back to this thread as it has been nearly 24 hours.
I hope he is ok.


Nonu Fri 05-Apr-13 11:25:13

I am sure he is


HUNTERF Fri 05-Apr-13 12:27:07

Another thing I have just thought of is if the offspring did not have sufficient assets to pay the parents fees would he expect the grandchildren to pay and if the children have to go in to care would the grandchildren be lumbered with both the grandparents fees and their own parents.
If it kept going on through the generations we could almost get a situation where children are hundreds of thousands of £'s in debt before they are born.


FlicketyB Fri 05-Apr-13 19:59:20

We all grumble about some of Frank's posts but please, let's give credit where it is due. I think his contributions to this thread have been excellent.

I think Bentley is mixing legal and moral responsibilities in his original post. I agree with some of his ideas. I do think where spouses hold their half of the house separately it should be possible to put a charge on the half of the house the person in care owns so that when the spouse not in care dies this money can be recovered.

As for dictating how much anyone can inherit or accumulate by essentially placing a 100% tax rate on the balance. I can think of no good reason why one person should have to forfeit much larger sums of money than the rest of the population just because they are over retirement age and have been fortunate, or prudent enough to accumulate enough money to pay for their own care in retirement.

And, yes, if the child of an older person has become wealthy, one would like to think that they love their parents enough to want to support them in comfort in old age and infirmity, and many do, but not every older person was a good parent. I once dealt, professionally, with a man in his 80s seeking assistance from a charity. He presented himself as a dear old man, loving husband and father sadly neglected by his 4 children. I later discovered he was a violent and aggressive man, domestically and elsewhere. Would you expect the children of a violent abusive father like this to help in paying for his care?

I do however think that everybody should be expected to provide for themselves throughout their lives and not expect state support just because they are older. Many people I know do need help because for many and various reasons they have not been able to accumulate enough assets to fund their old age. But when I hear of older people who can afford to pay for care seeking every possible method, legal or otherwise, to protect their assets so that the state has to pay, my feelings are of utter contempt.

HUNTERF Sat 06-Apr-13 09:57:04


I could see problems with putting a charge on a house when the spouse is in it.
He / She could want to get married again after the spouse in the nursing home passes away and there could be problems if she only owns half of the house and he or she pre deceases the new spouse.
Also there could be problems if the house is jointly owned by a parent and offspring who previously owned their own house.
Half of my parents house was left to me by my mother and I moved in and spent a lot of money on the house and on Dad and I cared to him to some extent.
As I had a larger pension than Dad I tried to keep him as far as possible at the same living standard as I have.
I did however tell him to use his own money first and I then subsidised him which I think was fair.
Even though Dad was a half owner according to the land certificate I think he expected me to recover as much money as possible from the value of the house when he passed away.
If Dad had lived a few more years I could have spent money on Dad amounting to more than half the value of the house so in reality you could say he would have had nothing.
If Dad had gone in to care and was only entitled to social funding I would have made the council pay their usual rate and then paid top up.

With regard to wealthy children being expected to pay for the parents care how do you define wealthy?.

Probably my friends from school who were bought up on the council estate and then managed to buy their own semi dethatched house were wealthy in relation to their parents but I would not class them as wealthy.


FlicketyB Sat 06-Apr-13 12:19:54

if a law was passed saying that charges would be laid on the share of the house owned by the person in care anyone remarrying, or leaving half to a child would have to bear this in mind.

A child could choose to take a mortgage or otherwise use savings to pay off the charge when the person in care dies, or sell up and move to a less expensive home. A second spouse should be expected to act in a similar fashion. I can see no reason why the better off should use owning only a half share in a house as an excuse for not paying for their own care and instead expecting the taxpayers, many probably less well off than them and unable to buy a house to fund their care. That is immoral.

As I said I can see no way that a child can be legally bound to contribute to the care of a parent, whether wealthy or not (however you define it), although many do from love of their parents.

HUNTERF Sat 06-Apr-13 13:56:50


Probably what you are saying would be ok for new cases of a parent / child living in a jointly owned property.
What does have to be taken in to account however is that Dad could have not lived at the standard he did had I not been there.
I lived with my father for nearly 9 years and paid for his private health insurance, holidays, his share of the car running as he was normally in the car even though I was not driving it.
If these expenses were added up I would say they came to £60,000 plus.
These expenses were generally paid out of my pension.
Ignoring smaller repairs I did spend about £80,000 on the house itself.
I did not keep any receipts for a lot of the expenses or accounts as there was no requirement and you could say half of the house repairs were for my benefit but you can see I in effect spent £100,000 plus on Dad.
What I would have done is if Dad's share of the house could have been taken for care fees is lend him the money to pay these expenses and took a charge over his share of the house.
As the house was worth £500,000 in effect only £150,000 belonged to Dad at the end of his life.
If Dad had lived another 10 years as the health insurance premium was increasing all the time I don't think there would have been anything left for care fees.
Somebody may say was it necessary for Dad to go on holidays or have private health insurance.
He could have legally got equity release and moved to a smaller property and there may have been nothing left anyway had he lived to 100.
Obviously had Dad had lived to 105 I would have kept paying even though his share of the money would have ran out.