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.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JimLawyer Your Own Question
JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13832
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
97337639
Type Your Law Question Here...
JimLawyer is online now

My mother has been in a home for just over the past year.

Customer Question

My mother has been in a home for just over the past year. The monthly payments were around £4,500. She has just recently passed away in April. For some reason the March fees were not collected. Mum went into hospital on the 4 of April and did not return back to the home as she passed away in the hospital. The carehome is now wanting me to pay for Marches fees and Aprils which amounts to £7,446.46. which is a large sum of money. Please could you let me know what are my rights. I have checked to see if I have any terms and conditions from the home but do not seem to have any.
JA: What steps have been taken? Have any papers been filed in family court?
Customer: No I have received phone calls and a letter
JA: Has she talked to a lawyer about this yet?
Customer: I am sorry I am not sure who you are reffering to
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Am I specking to the advise centre
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Your rights depend on what the contract says, in simple terms. If the March payment was missed, they are entitled to recover the missed payment. You have no rights if a payment was missed, much in the same way as any loan agreement. You should ask them for a copy of the contract before you either pay or consider making them an offer. They have to prove the loss as a claimant so they should provide you with the evidence - they should not take enforcement action or court action until they provide the proof. The courts encourage parties in a dispute to try and resolve their differences and not simply start court proceedings (which is seen as a last resort). The care home may try to recover the money via a debt collection agency......
Debt collectors are not bailiffs - they have no powers as such. They will simply try to collect the money their client thinks you owe. You can turn them away if you dispute the debt and they visit you - they can’t enter your home and take goods. They would report back to their client they were unsuccessful and it’s then up to their client whether to take matters further.

If they do sue, you will receive court documents (a response pack) which you must complete and return to the court. It is a tick box exercise for the most part and there is a short section to write a defence which is easy enough though please feel free to come back to this site if you need any more help. A claim will also take 9-12 months to be decided at court. If you lost then you would get 14 days to pay the judgment before the claimant can enforce the order, and 30 days to pay in full before it is registered with credit agencies. The claimant cannot recover legal costs if they win, in a claim under £10K (a small claim), all they can claim are the court fees and interest.

If the claim has no merit then you have an option (after your defence is filed) to apply to strike the claim out. The court will consider an application if the claim has no merit, or is misconceived. The application costs £255 but this is recoverable if your application succeeds. If you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you can ask the court to waive the court fee. If you won the application, the claim is struck out.

The hearing (if the case gets that far) is likely to be held remotely, it's you, a district judge (who is a practising solicitor or barrister) and someone from the claimant company. The Judge decides and if you lost, you get 14 days to pay the sum. If paid in full within 30 days then nothing goes on your credit record.

If you lost and if you were unable to pay the full sum owed at that point you can also ask the court to pay by instalments (a simple form is sent in, form N245, and a fee of £50 unless you qualify for a fee exemption so if you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you would qualify). If the CCJ was not paid in full though bear in mind the credit record would contain the CCJ details for up to 6 years. After that it comes off the credit registers.
I can assist you going forwards if it gets to the point they issue a claim. If you need a law firm to assist you to defend the claim, here is an example for you and they offer a fixed fee : https://stormcatcher.co.uk/practice-areas/dispute-resolution/small-claims-lawyer-service/

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim