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Minister for the Cabinet Office/Weightmans claimform - over payment of deceased persons Civil Service Pension


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Hi all,

I hope I have added this to the proper section. If not please feel free to move it to a more appropriate section.

 

I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me with an urgent issue with a County Court claim for repayment of pension payments made to my mothers bank account after her death.

 

Brief Details of Claim (received 16th Aug 2016) state:

"To recover an unjust enrichment of monies which were paid under a mistake of fact, to which the Defendant had no entitlement to receive."

 

They also state; "Whilst no official probate process was undertaken by the Defendant, the Claimant believes that the Defendant administered the deceased's estate on an informal basis and that she was the primary beneficiary of the same."

 

Claim amount is for £11906 plus costs

 

Solicitors are Weightmans acting for Minister for the Cabinet Office

 

NOTE:

My Mother died in Mar 2009.

 

The claim states that the Claimant was not made aware of the death until Aug. 2010

and payments continued to be made until then.

 

My Mother lived in Scotland all her life.

 

I have lived in England since 1988 and still do.

 

My mother left a will.

 

Her solicitor was the executor and dealt with the will, financial matters, the house sale, etc.

 

Apparently my mother received a Civil Service Pension after my step-father died and this pension was paid into the bank account my mother had added my name too.

 

I was added to this bank account in order that I could help deal with financial matters should she ever become so unwell that she couldn't do so herself.

 

This was never required and I neither paid in or withdrew money from the account.

 

My mother was very ill, on strong painkillers and in a care home when she died, but was still aware and able to deal with her affairs.

 

The monies in her bank accounts were included in the final distribution of funds.

 

I was one of about six beneficiaries, who included my sister, some cousins and my mothers financial adviser.

 

Her solicitor was paid around £8000 as executor, if memory serves.

 

I have never dealt with my Mothers pension and aside from my sister and I registering her death with the Registrar and obtaining the Death Certificate, the Solicitor dealt with all other matters.

 

I would greatly appreciate if anyone could offer some advice as to how I should respond to this claim.

 

I have searched the forums but have not found anything I feel relates to my set of circumstances.

 

Thank you in advance.

Kat

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When the estate was distributed to beneficiaries

the Solicitor acting as Executor should have issued an account sheet to everyone concerned listing everything.

 

 

Suggest you look through all of the paperwork to see what you have got.

If not one of your relatives might still have a copy or ask the Solicitors to provide a copy.

 

Also the Solicitors would have closed the Bank account and in theory nothing should then be paid into the account, as a deceased account should not be reopened by a Bank on receipt of credits.

 

 

If you were on the Bank account,

i suggest you make enquiries to see what happened on the account.

 

 

Perhaps the Bank kept the account running and there is money sat in the account

or the Bank returned credits to the Civil Service who have mislaid them.

 

Did Weightmans write to you asking for information before issuing the claim ?

We could do with some help from you.

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Thank you for your prompt response unclebulgaria67,

 

It has been some time since my Mothers death and I have moved house 3 times since then, so old paperwork is a little hard to come by but I'm trying to find whatever I had.

 

If memory serves, because my name was on the bank account it was changed to only my name after the solicitor notified the bank. It then remained open until everything was wrapped up. This didn't happen until Mum's house was sold. I'm looking for the exact dates that took place.

 

Weightmans wrote demanding payment not information, I was away at the time, for three weeks helping look after my new grandson. When I got back the claim was here.

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A bit strange that the account was not just closed.

Why keep it open ?

Surely your Mothers account which you were given temporary access as a secondary account holder to help her with her finances.

 

If you kept receiving money from the pension,

knowing that it was not yours to keep,

which might be Weightmans belief,

then you either disprove this by showing statements of account

or you decide to come to a settlement based on what you can afford to pay over a period.

 

 

The Solicitors would have distributed the estate at a certain point

and if the Bank account was left open in your name,

it was up to you to deal with.

 

 

I am a little surprised the Solicitors were not in contact with the Civil Service pension department, so they stopped payments.

 

The Solicitors will have a file with all of the information about what they dealt with, who they contacted.

We could do with some help from you.

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unclebulgaria67 I wasn't given temporary access I was named on the account for years.

 

 

The bank account was changed to the secondary account holders name,

which I believe was bank policy at the time,

and the account was left alone until everything was wrapped up.

 

I wasn't ever aware of funding sources and I'm not sure why the solicitor/executor didn't request them or inform the pension department. Perhaps he did!

 

I'm not sure the account being open/closed is that relevant.

 

When the estate was distributed I was sent a cheque which was part of the balance of the total estate.

 

The total estate included the funds in the bank account and as such my portion probably included a portion of any overpayment.

 

However it appears I'm being held accountable for the whole overpayment plus interest and costs.

 

The set of circumstances are probably a little too complicated for the forum without a detailed timeline, dates and amounts.

 

I'll have to find that paperwork and perhaps come back then.

 

Regards, Kat

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Yes you need to dig for information.

 

Sounds like a Solicitors who was not totally on the ball.

 

 

The Solicitors i have dealt with who acted as executors have been extremely diligent going through everything.

 

 

If there was a pension being paid,

they write to the pension provider.

 

 

If the pension was overpaid,

they normally would separate it from the account to be distributed to beneficiaries

and make sure it gets sent to the pension provider.

 

 

It seems they allowed the overpaid pension money to be distrubuted to people who were not entitled to it.

The executor is liable to sorting out any mess they created.

We could do with some help from you.

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Yes you need to dig for information.

 

Sounds like a Solicitors who was not totally on the ball.

 

As a matter of urgency, I would be contacting the solicitor that handled the estate and find out:

A) If they still have the file - Some solicitors dispose of records after six years, others hang on to them for much longer.

B) Enquire as to exactly what they intend to do about the matter and remind them that they are ultimately responsible for the mess.

I would also suggest contacting a local solicitor that is experienced in both Scottish and English law, as this has the potential for being very messy and expensive. Depending on exactly when the pension provider was notified of the death, it may be that the claim is statute barred both sides of the border.

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Thank You Mr.P,

I am currently trying to contact the solicitor/executor, who it appears may have retired.

 

I am also looking into the statute barred issue but I am unsure whether Civil Service Pensions are exempt from the limitation. Are you able to clarify this for me?

 

Regards, Kat.

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As a claim has been issued and there are strict time limits to acknowledge & file a defence, I've flagged it for Site Team members.

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When was the last pension payment made into the account or last contact in writing admitting to this pension issue and what is the date they have issued their court claim ? This is trying to ascertain whether 6 years has passed and therefore is statued barred. I don't think civil service pensions have an opt out of limitations law.

 

In regard to Solicitors retiring, quite often their records are kept by the firm they worked for or if that is not possible there is a process where a Solicitors takes over responsibility. A Solicitor i know who left the country years ago and his firm traded on, with records kept by them. I think they are no longer trading as the same partners and the records have been transferred to a Solicitors who took on their clients. The Law Society i think is involved in some way, so they should be contacted if you are having difficulty finding out what happened to records.

We could do with some help from you.

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Hi unclebulgaria67,

 

My Mother died in Mar 2009.

Claimant says was made aware 14th Aug. 2010.

Court Claim Stamped 16th Aug. 2016.

Currently no idea when last payment was made.

I've never contacted or been in contact with anyone regarding pension or any payments.

Mother lived in Scotland. Bank account with RBS in Scotland.

 

Thanks for the Solicitor info, will research further.

 

Regards, Kat.

Edited by katmiller
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Hi unclebulgaria67,

 

My Mother died in Mar 2009.

Claimant says was made aware 14th Aug. 2010.

Court Claim Stamped 16th Aug. 2016.

Currently no idea when last payment was made.

I've never contacted or been in contact with anyone regarding pension or any payments.

Mother lived in Scotland. Bank account with RBS in Scotland.

 

Thanks for the Solicitor info, will research further.

 

Regards, Kat.

 

As she was resident in Scotland, then the limitations period is 5 years, so this claim might not be enforceable. However, the claim is made against you and you are resident in England, so i am not sure of the correct legal position.

 

I think you should make a full record of your investigations to get hold of information, so if this gets to court, you can explain to a Judge what efforts you have made to get hold of records. This should not be limited to the Solicitors, but also the Bank the account was with. Also ask other beneficiaries whether they still have the Solicitors account record stating how they settled the account. This might show what happened with any pension money.

 

Has this claim been made in England through the MCOL online process ?

 

If so, you have 5 days from the date of claim for service of claim, plus a further 14 days to acknowledge the claim. That would be acknowledgement by 2nd September if i have counted correctly. You then have a further 14 days to submit a defence.

 

The defence might be that i Mrs Y am 1 of 5 beneficiaries of an estate for the late Mrs x . That i Mrs Y held no legal authority in regard to disposal of the Estate , as the appointed Executor under the will left by Mrs x was Mr Bloggs of Bloggs Solicitors, address xxxx. I therefore contend that i should not be the respondent for this claim.

 

The late Mrs X the receipient of the civil service pension was a resident of Scotland and the Bank account receiving the pension was held in Scotland. That the last pension payment paid into Mrs X account was on x date and that the claimants claim is subject to the Prescription and limitations Scotland Act.

 

If this gets to a court, you will be asked whether you knowingly received money into Mrs x account, which you knew was not legally due to be received. If you did receive money, as a joint account holder, you are resident in England and the claim is within 6 years, then i think you could be held liable for this debt. It might make no odds, whether the Solicitors passed on some of the money to other beneficiaries, as i think that because you were on the Bank account, you should have known what was going on. You could have discussed the matter with Solicitors to make sure it was handled properly. As mentioned this is why Solicitors records are very important, as they might reveal information you have forgotten.

We could do with some help from you.

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Having a quick scout around about Civil Service Pensions..I understand that your Mother would have been entitled to a Death Benefit Nomination assuming she completed a death benefit nomination form.

 

http://www.civilservicepensionscheme.org.uk/members/pensioners/pensioners-faqs/

 

Andy

We could do with some help from you.

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Apologies as I didn't get time to reply yesterday.

 

Than You unclebulgaria67,

I do feel that the Scottish element is the best way to proceed given Mum, the Will, the Executor, all other beneficiaries and the bank are all in Scotland and subject to Scottish law. As I'm sure any T&C's Mum signed would be.

I'm just trying to work out whether I should dispute the jurisdiction based on personal jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction or subject matter jurisdiction.

 

The claim was made in England through the MCOL online process. As the service date was the 16th I think today is the latest I can post the Acknowledgement of Service.

 

 

Thank You Andy,

Your link reminded me that it was actually my fathers Civil Service Pension and that my Mum was his Death Benefit Nominee. Her pension was with the NHS.

 

All your help is greatly appreciated.

Kat.

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I think you would be on weak ground just arguing about jurisdiction, given that their particulars of claim state that you have had money you were not entitled to. As you live in England, i am not sure it matters that the money came from a Scottish Bank account. I think the main point is that their claim is wrong. There was a will and an executor. The executor has legal responsibility to make sure they follow all the relevant rules when they administer the estate.

 

Andyorch and others know more about this, so hopefully they will advise.

We could do with some help from you.

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Thank You unclebulgaria67, I'll wait to see if anyone can offer more advice.

 

I'm currently trying to acknowledge service using the MCOL thing but can't respond as I need a Defence Pack Password. Any idea where I'd find that. There's nothing in the Response Pack.

Kat...

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Thank You unclebulgaria67, I'll wait to see if anyone can offer more advice.

 

I'm currently trying to acknowledge service using the MCOL thing but can't respond as I need a Defence Pack Password. Any idea where I'd find that. There's nothing in the Response Pack.

Kat...

 

Your pass word is already on the claim form...your username is issued once you have registered to use the MCOL service.

We could do with some help from you.

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Andy

 

Do you think Weightmans have gone after the OP because they are the only beneficiary outside of Scotland ? The others are covered by limitations in Scotland and it is too late to take them to court.

 

If you look at the POC in the first post, it is incorrect. There was a will and executor. Do you think that the OP would be wiser to concentrate on questioning the claim details, rather than jurisdiction as a main issue. The OP lives in England and received money not due. Does it matter that any money came from a Solicitor based in Scotland acting as Executor ? Of course the OP needs to challenge Weightmans regarding the date concerning limitation act. The OP does not know when the civil service last made payment or there was a written acknowledgement, because have not yet received any information.

 

What about any CPR 31.14, part 18 or other letter to gain dislosure from Weightmans ?

We could do with some help from you.

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I was thinking more that the claim should be made against the estate rather than a beneficiary UB...and should be either served in Scotland on the Solicitor/Practice or served from a Scottish Court on the Solicitor/Practice.

We could do with some help from you.

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Thank you for your continued consideration of this unclebulgaria67 and Andy.

 

I couldn't find the MCOL password anywhere so posted the Acknowledgement yesterday.

 

I also sent Weightmans a CPR 31.14 request asking for copy documents referred to in the POC:

1. Copy Civil Service Pension Agreement / Contract - POC 1.

2. Copy Terms & Conditions of same dated and signed – POC 1 & 3.

3. Copy Notification of Death of the Deceased – POC 2.

4. Copy of all overpaid payment transactions, dates paid with proof of payment received – POC 3, 4 & 7.

5. Copy of all paperwork showing Claimant as primary beneficiary – POC 6.

 

A couple of questions if you don't mind me asking.

1. Am I able to reference or rely on the Consumer Credit Act 1974, with this?

2. If not, is there an Act you are aware of that applies?

 

unclebulgaria67:

Do you think Weightmans have gone after the OP because they are the only beneficiary outside of Scotland ? The others are covered by limitations in Scotland and it is too late to take them to court.

I think that's an absolute certainty.

 

Andyorch:

...and should be either served in Scotland on the Solicitor/Practice or served from a Scottish Court on the Solicitor/Practice.

Can you offer me any thoughts or ideas on how I would approach this as a defence?

 

Seeing relatives in Scotland this weekend and will be trying to uncover information. If the bank branch is still in the village I'll be popping in.

 

Thank you again, Kat...

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Hi Kat

 

Im afraid you cant rely on the CCA1974...the Public Civil Service Pension legislation is governed by the following...

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1964/contents/made.

 

Andy

We could do with some help from you.

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