Moral and probably legal question re finanace after death

Discussion in 'After dementia — dealing with loss' started by Ardlife, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. Ardlife

    Ardlife Registered User

    Jun 9, 2013
    15
    I have been living with and been carer for my mum for past 6 years, she had dementia and was bed-bound. Had to give up work
    I never applied for power of attorney as I have managed to overcome all obsticles when needed.
    Mum unfortunately recently passed away
    Mum made a will many years ago, I have no argument with it, leaves me a share of house with other family and am allowed to live in property as long as I want so no-one can insist on selling the property. Any cash left over bank accounts, shares etc will be distributed to mum's niece and her family (no cash direct to immediate family but that's ok with me too it was her wishes)
    However while she was alive I ran the household budget like a married couple, we pooled together the income, carers allowance, attendance allowance and state pension. The attendance allowance and state pension went into a post office account just in mum's name and I was able to withdraw against it each week with card and pin which along with my money paid the bills.
    My question is can I still withdraw money from that account say up to the balance at date of death (I would not touch anything that comes in after date of death) for weekly bills? It was never a savings account but I only withdrew what was necessary for gas. electric, insurances so there is over £1000 in there now ( we were never extravagant, no holidays or expensive clothes or anything).
    I don't want to appear selfish, to me that money was my mum's and my living expenses. If we had a crystal ball I would have drawn all the money out each week but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
    If the account was joint then no problem, but it is just in mum's name so I don't know where I stand morally or even legally.
     
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,554
    Female
    Scotland
    Since your mother entrusted you with her card and pin I would settle bills from this account just as if you were her executor. Keep away from lawyers and their bills if you possibly can. You are honouring your mothers choices and have looked after her thus far.
     
  3. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    #3 Pickles53, Mar 17, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
    Firstly, my deepest sympathy to you on the loss of your mum after so many years of devoted care.

    I absolutely accept that you are trying to the right thing, but you do have to be very careful that you don't inadvertently break the law here.

    From the moment a person dies, everything becomes part of their estate. The bank has to be notified that the account holder has died at the earliest possible opportunity and the account will be 'frozen' from that point until probate is granted. Technically it would probably have been contrary to the bank's terms and condition for you to use your mother's card and PIN while she was alive, so I would strongly advise you not to continue using the card now.

    There are very limited circumstances in which a person's money can be used before the estate is finalised. (For example, banks will usually allow funds to be released for the payment of funeral expenses.)

    If you are not the executor of your mum's will, I think you must get the agreement of the executor for any transactions which take place, as these will be expenses/liabilities of your mum's estate.

    I had POA for my my mum and am an executor of her will, but I could not withdraw any money from her account after the date of her death or write any further cheques. For example, I am currently paying the insurance on her house (until it is sold) each month from my bank account as it was not permissible to continue the direct debit from her account. We also had to provide an explanation for any cheques which had been written before the date of mum's death but not presented till afterwards.

    I will eventually be reimbursed for all the payments I am making via the final estate accounts before the remaining estate is distributed to the beneficiaries.
     
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,665
    Salford
    Deepest sympathy on you sad loss Ardlife.
    I agree with Pickles on this one you should no longer access the account it could lead to trouble. Morally I think you're in the right but that's not how the law stands.
    K
     
  5. Ardlife

    Ardlife Registered User

    Jun 9, 2013
    15
    Thank you for your replies
    After reading them and sitting back to think about it, all money, property etc becomes part of her estate on death regardless of our thoughts or previous financial relationship.
    I don't think I was thinking straight, on my to do list this week was pay water rates, then the council tax bill for next financial year arrived and I was like "what do I do now?"
    However thanks to Pickles mentioning it have at least sorted out insurance and from dealing with them am confident these big companies are used to it. Will see if gas and electric and water board are as accommodating tomorrow.
    Thanks again
     
  6. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    Glad you found my post useful. It is overwhelming when someone dies and there is so much that has to be done practically as well as dealing with intense emotional distress. I did find that everyone I spoke to was very sympathetic and helpful. Even BT were fine, and I was dreading calling them as they had not been that brilliant previously when I was 'just' mum's attorney. The utility companies know that they may have to wait a bit longer than usual to be paid while an estate is sorted out.
     
  7. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,554
    Female
    Scotland
    If as I understand this money was for bills up to the date of your mother's death then you might not know that a lawyer will charge you for each and every letter they write to utilities explaining why they have not been paid and will not be paid until all affairs have been settled?
     
  8. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    Lawyers may charge, but there's no reason why the executor of an estate can't do the same thing. We have instructed a lawyer to deal with the probate application but I contacted the utility companies and the insurance people myself. I just had to send in a copy of the death certificate.
     
  9. Ardlife

    Ardlife Registered User

    Jun 9, 2013
    15
    Found mum's will and unfortunately the solicitors she used to draw up the will are also down in her will to be the executers and trustees I can just see men in suits rubbing their hands together.
    No matter gives me something to concentrate on to do as much as I can without their assistance.
    No death cert as yet, waiting on hospital and have requested post-mortem which will delay it even longer (not a delaying tactic just a need to know to stop these other dark thoughts in my head or come to terms with them)
    Gas and electric sorted for now, readings given over phone and as quick as a flash removed from the nice rate we were on to the basic rate. Water rates don't even need death cert, they will rework bill from DOD and bill ME for what's missing until 30th March, then send me a new bill for this year and EXPECT payment on due date regardless of my circumstances (not very understanding Severn Trent).
    The funny one was the bank, they cannot stop the account without death cert so any direct debit requests will still be sent out. So I asked if having the online details I could sort direct debits myself? yes no problem, so that's what I have done all direct debits now cancelled.
    Am not going to have any problems with will but am I right in saying even if all parties are in agreement it very difficult to change the executer without just cause (money not classed as a just cause)?
     
  10. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,665
    Salford
    Don't pay the year's water bill all in one go, ask to pay monthly or ask them to come and put a water meter in (if you don't have one) then you won't get a bill for 6 months and may well save a fortune if you're in the house on your own, our water bill is a third of what it was before we had one and paid the standard rate.
    If you weren't getting a council tax discount before due to your mum's condition get the 25% off for living alone and if you weren't claiming it before make a backdated claim to the date of your mother's diagnosis.
    You can change the executors but I believe you need their consent, you could ask they can only say no.
    K
     
  11. chrisdee

    chrisdee Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
    171
    Yorkshire
    We took some money out of Mum's account, we have POA, before death registered with bank etc. to pay for a meal for the 'Wake'. We consider ourselves honest, she would not have minded in the least and the bank admitted they could do nothing and overlooked it.Obvs its all frozen now.
     
  12. SallyPotter

    SallyPotter Registered User

    May 19, 2013
    161
    Gloucestershire
    Talk to citizens advice, you do need legal advice. As your own allowances were paid into the account (presumably there is a record of how much of your own allowances were paid in) and how thereby what percentage of the remainder is yours. They may advise you to see a solicitor bur either way this information should be submitted to the executors so that they can see that you made contributions to the running costs of the household.
     
  13. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    I'd be pointing ut the account to the executor, with proof that I paid in half and half is mine.
     
  14. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,665
    Salford
    SallyPotter
    Talk to citizens advice, you do need legal advice. As your own allowances were paid into the account

    As I understand it that's not the case (hope I'm wrong) but Ardlife says
    "The attendance allowance and state pension went into a post office account just in mum's name"
    So the AA and pension are the mother's income exclusively and it's not a joint account so it becomes part of the estate. Had Ardlife have been paying into the account (which I don't believe to be the case) then there may be a claim but from my reading that isn't the case here. If the money had been taken out at the time (as Ardlife says) then not a problem but I think it's too late now, as I say I hope I'm wrong.
    K
     

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