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Council seeking care home fees retrospectively
in Deaths, funerals & probate
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I'm struggling to follow this in all honesty but what I'm gathering if your great grandma had assets and paid full cost while your grandad had little and only paid his contribution. She died, he inherited her assets and then he died later on.
If the above is correct then from the date of your great grandmas death he should have been considered as owning those assets and therefore been charged full cost. Did anyone inform the council of this change in financial circumstances? I assume what's happened is no one told them and they've only now just discovered he had all these assets that weren't declared and therefore retrospectively adjusted the financial assessment.
Given he appears to have been paying minimum cost for his care where he should have been full cost, for 2 years the outstanding bill is likely to be substantial. If it's tens of thousands the council are extremely unlikely to just write this off. They'll initially attempt to come to an arrangement with you but if you can't agree this, or you just repeatedly say the money is gone they'll take it to court. Now they have two choices, take the administrator of the will to court or take some/all of the beneficiaries to court. They'll choose whichever route is easier, likely the administrator unless they don't have the funds to pay it.
You can argue the money is gone but that won't work unless everyone involved has zero assets and given you've said the money was used for house deposits, etc I doubt that's the case. They'll expect the money to be paid even if that involves the selling of assets, including property.
The whole thing is a mess and I agree with some of the others who say they wouldn't wish to be in the administrators shoes at the moment. Saying this I think the administrator might have some claim against whoever dealt with the finances and care decisions for your grandad, which appears to be the solicitor. It was their responsibility to inform the council of a change in your grandads financial circumstances, which they failed to do and the administrator could argue it was that failure which cost them. I'm not sure if that would be a realistic legal challenge mind, you'd need a solicitor to comment.
I would strongly suggest you come to an agreement with the council, maybe a payment plan of something similar. If this goes to court it's likely to get a lot more difficult.
So if grandad while still alive made an unwise decision while in full possession of his faculties to keep quiet about his inheritance and hope to get away with it, that's not on anyone except him. And later a burden for his executor/administrator after he passed away which they appear not to have considered.
If he went into care before inheriting he may not have had any interest in inheriting the house and ignored it.
If his solicitor friend was administering the grandmother's estate you would think he would advised him when he inherited.
The OP has not confirmed whether he did inherit the house although seems likely. He refers to 'the family' home.
He said '. And well we did nothing for most of the time. I believe a few loose ends were tied up but nothing said about owing fees. So the family home was sold and divided up'
It sounds like 'we' dealt with the estate, whoever 'we' is.
The OP needs to start by discussing with the executor/administrator. And if the inheritance was shared equally, then all the beneficiaries need to start working where they can get £10k from. Since they have assets, the Council is likely to pursue them all.
Ah I missed that detail. If the grandad had capacity then it would have been his responsibility to tell the council as you point out. That's unfortunate for the administrator/beneficiaries as they'll now have no one to blame should the bill land on their doorstep.
As I said in my post this whole thing is a complete mess. However the council are ruthless if they're owed a substantial amount of money especially as most are near bankruptcy right now. They won't let this drop and someone will be paying the bill. The only question is who.
The council doesn't have to pursue them all and likely won't as pursuing 9 people is a lot more difficult than pursuing 1 or 2. AFAIK one of the beneficiaries can't be held liable for more than their inheritance but they can potentially lose their entire inheritance while others remain untouched. For example say each of the beneficiaries received £20k each and the outstanding bill is £60k. The fairest option would be for the council to pursue each person for £6,666 each. However they're far more likely to pursue 3 of the beneficiaries for £20k each and leave them to sort out the mess between themselves.
Or they'll just pursue the administrator, assuming they can.
Of course the fairest solution all round is speaking to the council, agreeing the bill and splitting that equally between the beneficiaries. However this requires all the beneficiaries to agree and play ball, which when you're talking 9 people and them having to find a fair amount of money that they probably won't have becomes difficult.
You refer to the care home chasing you for the money but if he was being funded, it won't be them it will be the funding authority which is most likely to be the local authority.
I don't think the OP is coming back, but if they do it would be really helpful to clarify who dealt with the property and the great grandmother's estate after she died, and who executed grandad's will?
Was the solicitor involved in sorting out great grandmother's estate? If so, they should be able to clarify how the house was passed on to grandad and/or any other beneficiaries?