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When the costs of care aren’t fair, we’re on your side

mfg associate Gill Browne recalls how she successfully challenged charges faced by elderly care home residents.

Deciding to entrust our elderly parents to the care system is as heart-wrenching as it is costly.

We want the best for them but we also know that in many cases that is going to mean the home they have lived in, and paid for, is going to have to be sold.

That can be complicated at the best of times and even more so when the local authority in charge of social services starts demanding a higher than expected fee for that care.

When I was approached by a local authority to become Court of Protection Deputy for one of their care home residents, it involved taking on a sale of her property. It was a tricky but not uncommon matter.

There were various issues surrounding the estate of the late husband of this care home resident, as his estate had not been administered. The resident had dementia, so I needed to act as her deputy to administer her finances and also deal with his estate. I first of all arranged to purchase the leasehold of the property in the estate, thus making it worth more upon sale and providing her with the money needed to cover the cost of her care.

So far, so good.

Then came the bill from the local authority. They were charging my client over £700 a week for a place in one of their own council run homes. And as she’d already been there several years, the retrospective demand was for over £100,000!

If she had been in a private care home instead, the cost to the council for her care would have been £418 a week. If I did not agree to pay, the council was going to move her somewhere cheaper.

This seemed cruel to me. This woman had lived in that home for a while and was settled and moving someone who suffers from Dementia is particularly unhelpful.

I paid some of the arrears but continued to lobby the council about the unfairness of placing my client in one of their homes and charging whatever they liked, with no way for her to appeal.

The council eventually backed down and acknowledged it should have given my client more choice.

It might have been the council that referred the matter to me in the first place, but it was the resident who was my client. I was determined not to let her end up paying more than was fair.

The saving I achieved for this lady was in the region of £70,000.

About Gill Browne

Gill has been with mfg Solicitors since January 2016 and has been a Court of Protection Deputy for property and financial affairs for over 12 years where she acts as Professional Deputy or Attorney for clients within the West Midlands, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire. Readers can contact Gill through gill.browne@mfgsolicitors.com