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Massive probate/benefit overpayment problems...

worry wort

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This is along one I'm afraid. At the end of 2003 my mother died. She was a very strong willed lady even though she'd started to develop dementia during the last few years of her life.


I was her her only relative and main carer, although at the same time in a different part of town lived my father (they were separated years back) who also was suffering from dementia and who I also looked after. As time went on I realised that she was incapable of handling her affairs properly so used to deal with them on her behalf, but getting her to sign any documents.


I had thought for years that her only savings were just under £3000. What I didn't realise was that she had another savings book with another £8000 in it hidden away upstairs in a locked wardrobe! This account had a tiny pension of £10 a month being paid into it by direct debit as well as a buidling sociry shares whcih only amounted to about £8 a month.


I confronted her about It and she just got agressive and told me to put It back. I stupidly did that, and to make maters even worse I eventually made it into a dual account as help the aged had told me to do that with all her acconts so it would make matters easier to deal with. God I was so stupid! What was I thinking!


Soon after she died I was struck down with a very serious illness, and to cut a long story short ended up developing a chronic pain condition and extreme fatigue which I still suffer from and which prevented me from sorting out probate for many years. I also suffer from long spells of extreme depression too.


Recently I felt well enough to try and sort this mess out and of course realised that when I go to probate all hell will break loose as far as the DWP wanting money for the years my Mother had been claiming income suport as well as council tax benefit when she shouldn't have been and me being stupid enough letting her.


I know I should have rushed to the social the moment I found that damn bank book, but I was scared and emtionaly exhasted trying to look after two demented people in two different parts of town, and try and hold some kind of job down, so I let things slide, which I know was wrong and breaking the law.


I'm so scared like now I'm amost thinking of never going to probate and just moving back to live in Mums old place, even though I know thats a ridiclous thing to do.


I know this sounds pathetic, but I don't suppose the DWP would let me live in the property and pay them back in some kind of instaulemts scheme? I live in a tiny bedsit and I was going to move into the place, but now due to my own stupidly that looks like It's not to be. :(


Any advice would be welcome as I'm on the verge of topping myself. I just can't take this worry much longer. CAB is very over worked in my area and I don't know who else to turn to.

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Hi Worry,


I am no expert in these matters, but one thing I would advise you at this point is to say nothing to the powers that be until you have had some good advice from the experts that are members of the forum. There are some really nice people here, so sit tight and await their informed guidance. Remember, once you've said something you can't 'unsay' it.


I am so sorry for your plight at this time and I sincerely hope that your health picks up.


Best Wishes and my thoughts are with at this time, but try not to worry too much as if you did not go to probate at all and did nothing, I guess (and only guess) that your mothers' Building Society account will just sit there forever.............then the CamClegg alliance can use it when the time comes. But that is just a guess.


Keep well and keep checking this board for the experts.

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Thank you so much for your kind reply. I know all the above sounds like I'm the biggest fool on the planet, but all I can say in my defense is that at the time I was under so much stress trying to look after both my parents that I just couldn't deal with sorting out Mums fiances and benefits either.


I do remember her saying to me at one point when I suggested that she make that second account into a joint one that half of that money was mine anyway. Our family had a big falling out over my grandmothers will, and we as a family had to go to court over our house which others in the family wanted to force us to sell. We had to scrape together money including my own savings as a teenager to pay for all that. Half of the money in that account she said was money that was mine that was left over from the case that she'd put away, and some that my Mum had saved up over to replace what had been spent.


Now I know she was going a wee bit bonkers by that point, so god only knows If thats true. It's all so long ago now, although I do remember the court case though.


As to Mums other account, well as I haven't worked for so long due to this incurable illness I ended up getting desperate and spending nearly all of it over a period of years. So I know when I do sort things out I'll not only owe money to the DWP but to the local councils pension plan thats still being paid into there as well. God, I'm thick. I don't know what possessed me.


I have no idea which company is doing it as I can't find any documents on it at all. It just shows up every month on that account with no other info.

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I would think that as you are the joint account holder, you would be able to ask at the Building Society the name of the company that is paying in the money to the account. From here, I'm not sure of what to do, except as I mentioned earlier, await one of the more knowledgeable guru's on this great site and I'm sure someone will be able to advise you of a way of going about things without putting your foot in it. I sincerely hope so and wish you a very peaceful nights sleep, in fact, many many peaceful nights sleep.


Best wishes and I'll keep my eye out for the better educated than I to see what there advice is

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Thanks again. I was going to go and as the bank, but I didn't want to upset the apple cart by drawing undue attention to it, however daft that may sound. I pathetically just wanted to pretend that the damn account wasn't there. :(


I wonder If with just on the evidence of her death certificate I could get whoever paying into this stop paying in?


I'm so rubbish with this kind of thing. I obviously did a very bad job of sorting Mums affairs out as I can't seem to find info on half her stuff even after all this time, not that she had much really. Just two building society accounts and her own home which suffers from subsidence would you believe, so very small compared to some. Miles below the inheritance tax level.


I think the whole estate can't come to more then £145,000.

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The death certificate will have the date of her death. I don't know how much overpayment they have may have made, but if it's not a very large amount, then possibly you could explain that this was an oversight and just pay them back without anyone else knowing. That is just a thought, so please don't act on my thoughts as I am not knowledgeable in this area, but there will likely be some kindhearted and knowledgeable members online sometime soon I hope. They will be in a position to give you better and more qaulified advice than myself, but in the meantime, I'd sit tight until you decide exactly is the best option for you and don't act in haste.

Best Regards

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Thanks again, but going by how long she was drawing benefit for whilst that damn other account unbeknown to me put her over the threshold means that she wasn't entitled to any help for at least a few years, maybe 5? I can't work out how they would calculate it properly. Also would I suffer fines because of whats been done?


I remember reading somewhere that the DWP are meant to take into consideration what Mums account would have been like If she'd stopped being paid by them and spent her savings until she was eligible again. I worked out that she would have got through her money in about 5 years and then she would have had to claim again. Even £8000 would not have lasted 25 years.


She actually passed away on the 15th of December 2003. And Yes, a long time back I know.


*ETA* Oh you meant the private pension. :D Yes, maybe that would work.

Edited by worry wort
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Hi WW. I hope you get a good response from someone in the know here. I don't like to volunteer names of individual whom I have seen to have a wealth of experience, they are definitely here, but maybe not today. If you browse the lists you will surely find some names whom you could send a message to, just in case they've not read your post. Remember that once you've said something to the authorites, you can't take it back, and as it's been years now, if it were me, I wait until I got one of the experts opinions before making your decision. That is only my point of view, but I do feel for you at this time, but don't get too stressed as I'm sure one of the experts will come along with some better advice than I have.


Best Wishes WW.

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I do hope someone comes forward who has a bit of experience with this sort of thing as It's worry me to death and making my pelvic pain that much worse.


I feel like running away to Mums house and doing myself in. :(


I know ignorance is no excuse in the face of the law, and that they'll want whatever overpayment is due, but does anyone know If they'll see this as fraud done on my behalf? Or whether I'll have to suffer fines for late payment as well as interest? Would they let me live in the house If I signed it away to them as well as pay some of it back from my weekly benefit?


I've since done some research about this sort of thing online and It makes for some very scary reading. I can't believe that after all I've been through with my illness and looking after my parents for so many years that this is the outcome. More fear and misery.

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