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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My mum went into a nursing home in 2007 and her pension has been paid into my current

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Hi
My mum went into a nursing home in 2007 and her pension has been paid into my current account since then. Recently (following no contact or advice since 2007) Social Services (Camden) have advised me that Mum did not quaLIFY FOR CONTINUING CARE AND CURRENTLY OWES £20,00 PLUS IN UNPAID CARE HOME FEES. sHE HAD NO PROPERTY WHEN SHE ENTERED THE HOME AS SHE WAS A COUNCIL TENANT.I do not have power of attorney.I have recently opened a seperate account for mum with £3000 in it and have informed DWP to pay mum's pension in to there. My concern is that they will want me to p0ay the balance and I don't have it...I am a teacher and am terrified I will be prosecuted and lose my job. I don't drive or have holidays but undoubtedly lines have become blurred regarding spending.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year 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 ask roughly how much money has likely been paid into your account as pension for your mother please? Ballpark figures will be fine.Out of this money, how much do you believe has been spend on your mother's expenses and costs and how much has been spent on you - again ballpark fugres are fine?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have no idea what I've spent on mum as I have kept no receipts; had no idea I had to. She receives approx £600 every four weeks. I am happy to make monthly payments if DWP feel that it is required. They have asked for seven years of bank statements and I'm not sure whether I have to supply these or not.

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
I appreciate it is a difficult question to answer, but if you had to make a guess, what on average would you say is typically spent on your mothers expenses each month? A best guess is fine.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

£200?

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. There are two issue here. There is the mixing of your funds and your mothers and the probable likely scenario based on the figures you provide that a proportion of your mother's pension has been used for your own costs and expenses and there is the claim for care fees from the local authority. With your permission, I will deal with each in turn: Obviously, you will recognise that it is far from ideal that your mother's pension is paid into your current account and mixed with your own money. The law provides that your mother's pension is her property and if you were appointed as receiver for a pension either formally or informally, the law imposes a duty upon you to look after that money and ensure it is only used for her benefit. I do not say this to unduly worry you but if substantive amounts of money that belongs your mother have been used for purposes other than your mother's costs and expenses, this can amount in law to theft. Ideally therefore, you would be able to account as best as possible for money that has been spent out of your mothers pension - I appreciate this may be an impossible task at this stage. there is then the question of care fees. A starting point, if your mother has been refused continuing NHS care that does not necessarily mean she is not entitled to it and it is possible to appeal the decision. If he has had a full assessment for NHS continuing health care, and you’re not happy with the decision or the way the decision was made, the first stage is to use the local dispute resolution procedure. The Primary care trust will tell you how to do this. If the issue isn’t resolved by local review, or if a local review would cause unreasonable delays, the next step is an independent review. This means that an independent panel will consider the case and decide whether the PCT has acted correctly.You should be given an opportunity to contribute to the review, and to see all the evidence that is taken into account. You may find it useful to get support from his own medical practitioners that have particular expertise in the health problems of your father. At this stage, you should be offered the support of an advocate if you need one to help you through the process.If you’re still not satisfied by the outcome of an independent review, you can ask for your case to be looked at by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/ subject to the above, if your mother is determined not to be eligible for fully funded NHS care or part funded nursing care, the local authority are entitled to recover care costs from both her assets (subject to minimum limits) and income. From what you say, your mother had assets of less than £14,000 and if this is the case, then the local authority have no claim against her assets. The local authority can make a claim against her income with the exception of £21.90 per week which is allowed for expenses. The local authority cannot require you to pay anything towards her care unless you have agreed to pay top up fees. The difficulty of course is that you have muddled her money with your own and therefore the local authority can seek a claim against you for the money received by you from your mother's pension less an amount equivalent to £21.90 per week. In terms of how you may decide to proceed, there is a question as to whether you may decide to appeal the outcome of the fully funded care decision as discussed above. However perhaps as important if not more so than this is how to deal with the local authority in view of the potential for criminal liability to attach to the circumstances. Ideally, you will be able to convince the local authority that you have genuinely acted in good faith in respect of your mother's finances and you are simply not advised that the money should be kept in a separate account and monies have been spent on your mother and have not been in the main taken by you and it was no intention on your part to commit theft. as part of this, you will need to account as best you can for monies that have been spent that this will be a substantial task. The local authority has no right to see your bank statements in so far as they relate to your private financial affairs but they do have a right to ascertain how your mothers pension has been spent and if you refuse to provide the information, this is likely to increase the risk of the police being involved as they will have powers to obtain copies of your bank statements so it is probably better to work with the local authority rather than be what they may consider to obstructive. Finally, notwithstanding the successful outcome of any appeal you lodged with regards ***** ***** mother's care decision, it is likely that at least some of the money paid into your account as your mother's pension will have to be repaid. the amount will have to be worked out using the above figures and allowances, and you may need to discuss coming to an arrangement to pay this by instalments as is possible. Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

As I said I am more than happy to make monthly payments if it is felt that I should - my main concern is to avoid a court case and possible criminal charges, which would mean an end to my teaching career and an end to my ability to pay back any monies that were felt to be owing. In your experience, how likely is it that a prosecution could be brought?

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
in my view, the more you are able to cooperate and show on balance that you have acted in good faith so far as the local authority is concerned the less likely they are to involve the police. The local authority is likely to involve the police if they believe there is substantive evidence of financial abuse in respect of your mother's finances. The test for criminal liability is relatively high in that they must show beyond reasonable doubt you intended to permanently deprive your mother of money. The difficulty is, that on the evidence of the bank statements, that may be possible by no means say so for sure and there are defences available such as a claim you spent the money on your mother and so on. However, as you say, better to avoid the issues being tested in court and if possible, you willshould aim to resolve the matter between you and the local authority using some of the above techniques. Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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