Care home fees

I am English and my husband French, he has lived in the UK for 30 years, his mum has no assets or property and is now in a care home in France.

She has a small pension that will not cover the cost of the care home, he has applied for help to pay for the home which was rejected, he is an only child so has no-one to share the costs with.

Does anyone have any experience in this, he has offered to contribute, but it there is no way we could afford the total amount.

We still have a young family and mortgages to pay. His mother is divorced from his father and a widow

Thank you for any advice

In this case the State will pay for her care. They will take an amount from her pension and leave her something for personal expenses.
The best thing you can do is monitor the care she is getting in the care home, which is very difficult to do now because of Covid.
You can make sure that she has good clothing and that it is marked so that it does not get lost within the laundry in the Care Home and buy her gifts .
Our experience was similar, but my mother in law had dementia and we a]were living in France and she was in UK.
Even when we went back and visited the home my husband just popped his head round the door to see her, as she mistook him for either her husband or her brother and became very agitated. I took over a week to calm her down again and settle her back down into her daily routine, so she didn’t have visits.
The Care Home she was in was very good, she was very lucky.

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Are you in England or France? and is his mother in England or France?

This might be worth a look assuming she is in a maison de retraite in France.
Izzy x

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She is in a care home in France.

We are in the UK and his mother is in France

Thank you, we are under the impression that we have to help pay the cost of her pension does not cover the full cost. But this is around €1400 shortfall to her small pension.

As my husband is an only child there is no-one to help share this cost and we can’t afford to pay it.

Hi Jane

She is in a Care Home in France and we live in the UK. She has no family in France as my husband is an only child.

If you read the link… it seems to be saying that (if necessary) children are asked to pay something… according to their means… and if the family cannot pay… then the state steps in…

And, there’s also something about… monies being reclaimed in later years… from the Estate…

Have a look at the link. Your husband will be able to understand what it says far more easily than I can…

I may well have misunderstood or missed something…

good luck

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You are supposed to contribute to the cost, according to your income and other demands on it - you won’t be obliged to pay the whole thing and then go and live under a bridge, and this contribution is deductible from your French taxes (though obviously as you are in the UK this won’t apply).
I can sympathise with your husband to an extent, as I am also an only child - but I’m afraid that is just how the cookie crumbles. We have a strong legal framework which requires and reinforces family solidarity. Do you and your husband get on with your mother-in-law?


They had no contact for 16 years, we had to track her down when we had our 1st child, so there is not a real connection. She has lost all the houses that she owned, so has no estate.

We are not saying that we won’t pay anything but there is no way we could afford it all, and like you say we would get no tax relief or be able to claim it back from the estate, as there is none.

He applied for state help, offering to pay a contribution but this was rejected, we now have to object or go in front of a judge.

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What a horrible situation, I hope you find a solution.

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Are the authorities actually demanding money from you then, Charlotte? Even if they are I don’t see how they can force the issue, especially after the end of the year.

Are you being required to go to France to appear in court? Unless there has been a reconciliation between your husband and his mother and she is fully compus mentis, I would be inclined to ignore it. Unless you have property in France of course, that would be a game changer and you might lose it.

France regards family ties rather differently, unfortunately in this case. Just in the same way as you can’t cut children out of a will, children can’t renounce their duty of care towards their parents. How much wriggle room will vary from case to case. It’s something we’ve seen first hand with my OH’s grandparents but they all stayed on the various farms and were looked after there (unwritten agreement), the next generation isn’t quite sorted but we all know the score. I think Charlotte’s husband should have a chat with a French lawyer to get advice on his particular case.

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Thank you, would you know of any organisation that could help us, my husband has not lived in France for over 30 years and we have no idea of the system.

Even this isn’t cut and dried. If you haven’t lived in France for 30 years, have no property or other connection there, and make a will in England I would bet that you could leave it all to the cat’s home if you wished.

As this may be the case with Charlotte’s husband by the sounds of it, why would he bother paying French lawyers?

Unless, of course that they have dreams of moving back one day. That would make a difference.

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Perhaps a way forward would be to see if your husband can speak to the assistante sociale in the commune where the care home is? She or he will know the local area and people. Phone the Mairie and ask.

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We have no plans to France as our family and Children live in England.

The only connection we have to France is my husbands mother who is in the home. She divorced his father for over 30 years, she re-married and is now a widow.

He father still lives in France and is remarried.

We are just worried the authorities can enforce the €1300 a month shortfall, it would break us.

Why doesn’t your husband just reread the relevant bit of legislation and then pick up the telephone and talk to someone relevant? If he wants to send his mother money to help pay her ehpad they can’t refuse that, and conversely how can they enforce any payments when you don’t live in France? They can’t enforce any kind of child support if the father skips to the UK as I know to my children’s cost so I don’t see how this is different. It is really his problem more than yours, he is the French person, why isn’t he dealing with it?


My thoughts exactly.

@Charlotte, I wouldn’t worry, from all you have said I don’t think there is the slightest chance of you and your family being bankrupted. :slightly_smiling_face:

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