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Simon

Age at interview: 60
Brief Outline:

Simon’s father self-funded care from age 95

Simon consulted a financial adviser to help him maximise his father’s income to pay for his care fees and protect his capital assets as far as possible. He trusted the financial adviser and was very satisfied with the advice he received.

Background:

Simon, aged 60, is retired. He worked as a teacher in secondary education for over 30 years. He helped his father arrange care and manage his finances. They decided to let out his father’s property to pay towards his care home fees.

More about me...

Simon’s mother had been living with severe dementia for some years and his father cared for her. This had been a challenging time as his father needed support, but he lived over three hours’ drive from Simon. Simon’s mother and father had both been in the armed services during the War, this entitled them to apply for a place in a British Legion retirement home. After his mother died, Simon’s father came to stay with him for a few weeks and during that time the local British Legion care home offered a place and his father decided it was a good time to make the move to residential care. Simon was very pleased to have his father living nearby so he could visit him every day.

Rather than sell, Simon and his father decided they would rent out his home and the income from the rent paid towards the care fees. When Simon began managing his father’s finances, he asked a financial adviser to guide him on investments and inheritance plans. Simon feels that it was definitely worth appointing an expert to oversee his father’s finances and he found the adviser to be helpful and trustworthy. This financial adviser had helped Simon some years earlier when he was first arranging care for his mother, he had been very kind and did not charge for advice at that time. Simon held Power of Attorney for his father which made it easy for him to organise his father’s financial affairs. Because his mother was affected by dementia, she had not been able to appoint an Attorney so Simon had to apply to the Court of Protection. This was a long and costly process and Simon had to keep meticulous records and receipts so that the Office of the Public Guardian could check on all expenditure.

 

Simon thought that his mum would have to go to a care home when she left hospital.

Simon thought that his mum would have to go to a care home when she left hospital.

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I was getting a bit frantic at this point and whilst I was there I was chatting to the staff nurse at the hospital and she said, “Well you know she doesn’t have to go into a home.” And I said, “Well I’ve been told that she needs to.” And she said, “No, no, no, you can have people come in, she’s quite OK to have people come in.” I said, “Are you sure?” She said, “Yeah, absolutely.” So I asked the social worker this and the social worker sort of said, “Well, well, you know, yeah.” And I got, I mean I was in a bit of a state at that point because I was so worried about my mum, so I wasn’t thinking clearly, but in hindsight now I was thinking that’s actually pretty terrible that they sort of pushed me towards putting her in a home without giving me the alternatives.

 

Simon was impressed that the care home his dad was considering could manage all future care needs.

Simon was impressed that the care home his dad was considering could manage all future care needs.

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He originally; just as an aside, one of the things I liked about [Name of care home] was when we went there, I said, “Well what happens if he needs hospital or his dementia gets bad?” And they said, “It doesn’t matter, once he’s here we can cope for all things.” So there’s a dementia unit there, there’s a hospital, I think they called it a wing, but there’s a hospital floor. So when he broke his hip they moved him to the hospital floor because he needed more care but they didn’t charge extra.

 

Simon did not want to sell his father’s house so he arranged to rent it out as a holiday let.

Simon did not want to sell his father’s house so he arranged to rent it out as a holiday let.

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You’re not really planning to sell your father’s house any time soon?

No. I don’t want to. He, he says, “Why don’t we just sell the house?” And so, and I’ve said to him, “Look, well, I’ve set up a business now.” So there’s a partnership, me and my dad that administer that house as a holiday let. So with his permission last year I did some work on the house, the first work that’s been done in forty years, to get it up to a standard where we could rent it. Originally I was thinking of renting it to a family and then I thought about holiday let, because then we can use it, dad could go down there; now, of course, dad can’t go down there because he can’t walk anymore. So we set up a partnership that is a, well hasn’t been going a year yet but we’ll see what happens.

That sounds like a good idea.

Yeah, a friend of mine advised me to do that; he said, “Well why don’t you let it? Because otherwise, you know, it’s just going to...”

A lot of work though, you’ve got to be on hand.

I was down for about three months getting that done, yeah.

And, and I suppose each week that it’s let out you’ve got to be sort of...

It’s been, it’s been let out as a holiday let since May last year and up till now [touching wood] it’s been pretty good, but then this virus has kicked in and we don’t know what’s going to happen now.

 

Simon found a financial adviser who really helped him when his parents began paying for care.

Simon found a financial adviser who really helped him when his parents began paying for care.

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I had to, in order to get control of her funds to pay for the care, because dad simply wasn’t capable of doing that, because he, we hadn’t got Power of Attorney for mum I had to go through Court of Protection; and it was a very steep learning curve because I knew nothing about anything until then. I remember there was, I rang for some financial advice and a guy came out from [Town] and he could see that I knew nothing and he gave me lots and lots of information of what to do and then he said, “I’m not going to charge you for this,” he said, “when you want to have financial advice then come and see me.” And I remembered that, I thought that that was a really, that was a very, very kind thing for him to do. As it happens, about six months ago I decided that we ought to get things sorted for, inheritance-wise for dad, because he’s, even though he’s ninety-seven he’s not going to go on forever. So I got this guy back again, I said, “Look, I remembered that you were so kind.” So I did employ him in the end on my dad’s side, but anyway. He gave me lots and lots of information and that’s when I started to learn how this process worked.

 

Simon felt the assessment was hurried but he was pleased with the outcome.

Simon felt the assessment was hurried but he was pleased with the outcome.

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They originally did a meeting, which; I mean I was very, very upset about the meeting; and they did it in the staff room whilst people were still there having coffee; and I said, “Look, this is not acceptable.” Anyway, I mean I’ve been in lots of meetings, case worker meetings and so on where, where people want, I get the idea that people want to get things done, and I just felt that that was the, that was the case. I don’t know, but I was very, very upset at that time so I simply don’t know. But the long and the short of it was that I did manage to get care from a company who were recommended by the local, the district council, and they were fantastic; they were called [name of care provider], they were based down in [Town], which is a long way away; and all of the carers that, that they had were fantastic.

 

Simon said he relied on the internet because he lived some way away from his mum.

Simon said he relied on the internet because he lived some way away from his mum.

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But I had to do everything online from afar, I couldn’t, I couldn’t possibly do it first-hand, it was impossible. So what I would have done before the age of the computer [laughs] I have no idea; that would have been horrific.

So you found it, you just sort of basically went into the web and found the information and just sort of accumulated knowledge from... [Laughs]?

Yeah, mainly from, you accumulate different leaflets from different people but there isn’t a place where all the leaflets are; that’s why this financial guy was so brilliant, because he knew all of this because it’s his job. So he could tell me what the benchmarks were and everything else; and once I got in contact with the charities, I; Crossroads, that’s what the charity was called; once I got in contact with Crossroads they could tell me all sorts of different things. They were brilliant, just brilliant; and the other one was Carer Support.

 

Simon’s mum was refused a place at one care home because she couldn’t pay for a full year.

Simon’s mum was refused a place at one care home because she couldn’t pay for a full year.

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And I went all the way round to just about every home in [Town B], which apparently has the highest concentration of old people’s homes outside of [Town C]; and I only found one that I thought was OK; and when they found out how much mum had in the bank they basically said, “Oh we can’t take you because it’ll be a local authority case.” I notice that they didn’t do that in writing, but anyway.

So, sorry, I don’t understand; so what, because she was below the threshold?

No, they said that she had about five months’ worth of funds and after that she would be local authority and they wouldn’t accept that. I don’t know why; must be some stigma or whatever, but...

So they want to know that you, if you’re going to self-fund they want to know that it’s going to be for as long as it needs to be?

Yeah, no, I got the impression that they didn’t want anything that involved funding from the local authority.

 

Simon reviewed all his dad’s bills and took advice from a financial adviser.

Simon reviewed all his dad’s bills and took advice from a financial adviser.

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Because he’s one of these people who the system of, you know the system now where, whereby there are good deals on insurance and good deals on electricity and gas and everything else, as long as you have the wherewithal to look, and he’s the classic case of someone who never looks because he doesn’t, he just thinks I’ve been with them a long time, they’ll be fine. So when I took over his finances totally he was being charged appalling amounts for insurance, you name it he was paying the highest rate there was. So after I’d dealt with his finances he was actually [laughs] much better off than when he started, not that I’m a financial wizard; like I said, I didn’t know anything about this. So I actually, I put all his, not all of, a lot of his money into income bonds that pay interest and are secure and so on, so. And the financial advisor told, well he didn’t tell me, he advised me that, “Things like that put in your name with a note from your dad saying he is doing this as a loan.” Because I was really worried about him being scammed, because he was scammed for the roof and he was scammed for his cheque book. So I was worried that this money that he’d got with his access to it, he would lose. So we transferred it, like this advisor said, to my name with a legally signed thing saying that he was sending it over as a loan.

 

Simon was helping to arrange and pay for care for his mum and had to apply to the Court of Protection.

Simon was helping to arrange and pay for care for his mum and had to apply to the Court of Protection.

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Oh with the OPG (Office of Public Guardian), right, yeah. With, so I got the Court of Protection and that gave me funds, and with the Court of Protection you have to keep account of what you do; so I did, I kept a spreadsheet of what I do; and then I found out that that’s not enough, you have to keep receipts, and I was not aware of this, it was; and I got really quite panic struck by some of these letters that I was being sent by the Office of Public Guardian; and they’re very one-way. So they send you lots of demands but do, if you want to speak to them or get hold of them it’s nigh on impossible, it, and, well I really haven’t got anything good to say about the Office of Public Guardian at all, from my experience, even to the fact that after mum died they were still demanding money from her; and when she died I sent all the information that everybody needed, included the Office of Public Guardian. So I’m not very happy with them at all. In fact I’ve still kept, two years after she’s died I’ve still kept every single piece of correspondence from the Office for Public Guardian, because I simply don’t trust that that’s it, it’s over, I still feel that they’re going to sort of come back and haunt me again, you know.

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