How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joshua Your Own Question
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 25420
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
35043042
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Joshua is online now

My mother in law Mrs Summers spent her last three years in

Customer Question

My mother in law Mrs Summers spent her last three years in a residential care home and died on 21/2/2015. My wife managed her mothers financial business upon entry to the care home and the bank account was in her name. Agreed DWP payments to that account (up to 21/2/15) formed the basis of a standing order to the care home for £476. 80 on a 28 day cycle. The last payment made to the care home was on 17/2/15 with no previous payments being missed. Upon checking the bank statement we found that two further SO payments for March and April had been made to the home making an overpayment of £953.60. I calculated that we owed four days between 17th to 21st and requested a refund for the balance.
Over a four week period I have had telephone conversations with admin staff, e-mailed, and written two formal letters to the homes owner Mr Pinder (hand delivered) with no response at all.
I was contacted by an admin staff who explained that the accountant had left the company and that Mr Pinder was dealing with my request. One day later I was contacted and told that Mrs Summers fees had been incorrect and that at best I would be entitled to £68,00. I have been offered no information as to how this situation exists, its cause, or amount, or breakdown. This claim for extra fees has never been raised until after the death of Mrs Summers. I have pointed out that the overpayments after 21/2/15 are not from Mrs Summers estate, but from my wife,s personal bank account.
Can you advise me:
Does Mr Pinder has a legal right to withhold our overpayment?
Are we liable for any extra costs after the death of Mrs Summers that were not notified to us until after her death
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I clarify with you that your wife did not maintain a separate bank account for your mother in laws monies but mixed them with her own account please?If this is the case was the only money belonging to your mother in law the DWP payments that enteredt your wifes bank account?Was your wife acting as attorney or just as receiver for your MIL's pension?Do you know what notice was required for the care home - usually it is between 2 and 4 weeks but it can vary.Finally can you confirm the overpayments were made by direct debit rather than standing order?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

1. Money was transferred from MIL original account to a separate account in my wife's name only. There was an original opening balance credit prior to receipt of DWP payments of(£148.35 weekly) The original opening credit (£3000 was always intended to go to my wife.

2. Yes, only DWP money entered this account

3. My wife has been her main carer for 15 years because of MIL's level of disability. She was NOK

4. The home have stated that all costs cease on the date of death which was 21/2/15, standing orders were made on 17/2/15, 17/3/15, and 14/4/15 before we realised situation and cancelled SO

5. As stated above Standing Order.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
I am very grateful for the above information. the care home must supply invoices for any and all charges they levy, they have in the past supplied invoices but those invoices may have been mislaid, must supply copies to justify any charges. if they are unable to supply an invoice or refuse to do so, they are not entitled to make a charge and must refund such monies. I assume in the past the care home has made a practice of raising invoices either monthly or quarterly and you have been receiving those invoices. If they have not, your wife can require them to provide invoices for any and all charges raised in the last six years in order to justify any charges. If your wife has queries in respect of any invoices, of course these can be raised. If they refuse to provide invoices or copies of invoices, then your wife will have a potential claim against them (more on this below). The reason I sought clarification as to whether the payments had been paid by standing order or by direct debit is due to the different way in which monies can be reclaimed depending on which was the case. Had the monies been debited by direct debit, it would have simply been a case of contacting the bank and your wife asking for those monies to be reclaimed under the direct debit guarantee. Unfortunately, when monies are paid by standing order this is not available because as you will be well aware, a standing order is an instruction by the customer to the bank and the bank has acted on that instruction and therefore is not liable to refund the money in the event of the mistake because the bank will argue, technically correctly, that the mistake lies with the customer for failing to cancel the standing order. in terms of actual liability for any further costs that you may find have been raised, unless your wife signed a personal contract with the care home, i.e. a contract with your wife personally as opposed to your wife as your mother-in-law's receiver or attorney, your wife is not personally liable for monies that may or may not be owed to the care home. Rather if such monies are owed, the claims against your mother-in-law's estate and not your wife's assets. If any of the monies that have been paid belong to your wife as opposed to your mother-in-law, even if you find that the charges are legitimate which has so far not been shown from what you say, your wife would still not be liable for them unless she Has signed a personal contract with the care home as above However, as above, this does not mean that the is entitled to keep the money. In terms of how to proceed, your wife will wish to consider beginning by asking the care home to supply any missing invoices for any charges raised. Your wife can require copies of invoices for the last six years which period will more than cover your mother-in-law's period of occupation. In respect of any invoices that are not supplies or any queries she has in respect of any invoices supplied-for example where charges are more than what was agreed-she can make a claim against the care home for refund of those charges. She can do so by contacting the care home in writing either by email or letter and setting out the monies she considers due back - either because no invoice has been supplied or because of queries in relation to any invoice (e.g. the charges are not as was agreed all the invoice relates to a period during which your mother-in-law was not occupying the care home or arose after her passing) and requiring the care home to refund the monies within say 7 or 10 days failing which she 10 days failing which she will have little option but to either issue proceedings against the care home in the county court for recovery together with costs and interest of the sum of 8% per annum under section 69 of the County Courts act and/or serve on the care home a statutory demand for payment. A statutory demand is Available when the amount claimed is more than £750 and is a demand for immediate payment of the debt claimed failing which warning the debtor that they may be made bankrupt if they do not successfully set aside the statutory demand within 21 days of receipt. In order to set aside A statutory demand, an application must be made to court to demonstrate that the debt is not owed on the balance of probability. Statutory demands can be an effective weapon to persuade reluctant debtors to pay what is owed on the basis they wish to avoid potential bankruptcy action. There is no cost to issue them and you do not have to follow through with the threat of bankruptcy. The statutory demand forms can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-demands/forms-to-issue-a-statutory-demand An alternative or complimentary approach is to issue proceedings in the County Court. As above, you can claim costs together with interest at 8% per annum and any expenses you incur in attending any hearing. The simplest way to issue proceedings is by using the courts online issueing issing service:https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
Joshua and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Joshua,

Still taking in your advice which I intend to follow up with. I am a little confused with the comment on personal contracts upon MIL's entry into care home. The contract T&C,s were the standard document for all residential clients?

Once again my thanks for your assistance.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
My apologies for the delay in reverting to you. My comment above regarding personal contract relates to whether your wife wntered into a contract personally with the care home - i.e. rather than the contract being between the home and your MIL (in which case your wife would have no personal liability) if the contract were between the home and your wife personally she may be personally liable for the fees. Of course even if the latter is the case the remainder of the above still applies.

Related Family Law Questions