Saturday, 21 September 2013

The complicated “money side” of coping with bereavement

When people die their bank accounts automatically get frozen – this means that you cannot get any of their money out of the bank. As far as I know there are no exceptions to this rule. So when Mum and Dad were both killed I had no way of getting at their money to pay for things like their funeral. The only money I had for what seemed like ages was the small amount that I had in my own bank account.

There was supposed to be some “emergency cash” hidden in the house but when I went round a few days after the accident somebody had already taken it. I asked Granddad about it and he pretended that he had given it to the solicitor/lawyer who was looking after all of Mum and Dad’s money but later on I discovered that he had just kept it for himself! I ended up having to borrow lots of money from family members until things got sorted out.

Once the Will had been read out there were more money troubles. Mum and Dad had left almost everything to each other and then it went to me - with just a couple of small gifts to my Mum’s sister and my Dad’s brother. This made my Nan and Granddad (Mum’s parents) very cross because they felt, for some unknown reason, that they were entitled to lots of the money. Mum’s sister and Dad’s brother were the two trustees of the estate and it was their job to pay me an allowance out of the money I had inherited. I was to be given control of 50% of the money when I was 21 and control of the other 50% when I was 25.

All this made Nan and Granddad even crosser than before. They felt that they should have been put in charge and they hated it when the solicitor told them, firmly but politely, that there was nothing they could do about it. They sulked so much that when I needed to go all the way to Birmingham to sort out paying the tax bill (inheritance tax) at the very last minute they wouldn’t go with me. The rule was that I couldn’t inherit any money until I had paid the tax due but I couldn’t pay the tax until I had got the money. I was too young for a bank loan (I was still only 17) so this was a big problem. I can remember sitting there with tears pouring down my face until in the end some of the rules were “bent” when somebody very senior from London gave his permission for this to be done over the phone. Perhaps this kind man took pity on me?

1 comment:

  1. Having to sort out finances after a death is the last thing you want to be doing. All the admin after a death is so awful and something I never thought of when I was younger.

    It sounds good that your Grandparents weren't put in charge of the money.

    It's ridiculous that you were stuck in a legal loophole! Another added stresser at an awful time.