The effect of death on a care home contract
In the wake of a national news story criticising a care home owner who charged fees after a resident had died, PAUL RIDOUT, founding partner of Ridouts LLP, says clear contracts are best practice.
Whether and for how long after the death of a service user, a care home should be entitled to charge fees, is a vexed and sensitive question which has troubled the sector for very many years.
The matter surfaced publicly in a recent article published by the Daily Telegraph online in uncharacteristically flippant and simplistic terms under the headline “Care home takes fees from dead woman”.
It is clear from the article that the care home was credited with payment of fees as a result of some automated banking transaction and that the criticism lies in the suggestion that it is somehow inappropriate that the care home could retain the fees on some basis which the journalist does not explain.
It is basic, but must be restated, that death does not extinguish liabilities. The death of an individual transfers liability for their current and ongoing obligations to the administrators of their estate. Where the death is of a person who is sponsored by others then the liability of the s