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    • amusingduck
    • By amusingduck 21st Sep 16, 1:21 PM
    • 3Posts
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    amusingduck
    Benefit Fraud discovered after death
    • #1
    • 21st Sep 16, 1:21 PM
    Benefit Fraud discovered after death 21st Sep 16 at 1:21 PM
    Hello All,

    A close friend of mine has recently lost their Father. The children were surprised to find an estate of roughly £40k. The Father was disabled and received Housing Benefit + DLA for many years.

    My friend's brother has spoken to a solicitor and been informed that approximately £80k of benefits were fraudulently claimed by their Father. Probate is nearly complete, but the oaths have not been signed, and the funds have not been distributed.

    To complicate things further, the house that their Father lived in (and received HB for) is owned by my friend's brother. It was not a commercial arrangement (the house was bought specifically for their Father) - which I gather is also frowned upon.

    My friend and their brother are the executors, there was no will.

    What is likely to happen in these circumstances? I assume DWP will attempt to recover the entirety of the estate, but what happens to the remainder of the debt?

    I'm mainly concerned about the repercussions for my friend, could the debt be passed down to them? If it was discovered that their brother was complicit in the benefit fraud, could DWP attempt to recover the remainder from him (and would it affect my friend?)

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Page 1
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 21st Sep 16, 2:03 PM
    • 9,768 Posts
    • 11,491 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    • #2
    • 21st Sep 16, 2:03 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Sep 16, 2:03 PM
    Hello All,

    A close friend of mine has recently lost their Father. The children were surprised to find an estate of roughly £40k. The Father was disabled and received Housing Benefit + DLA for many years.

    My friend's brother has spoken to a solicitor and been informed that approximately £80k of benefits were fraudulently claimed by their Father. Probate is nearly complete, but the oaths have not been signed, and the funds have not been distributed.

    To complicate things further, the house that their Father lived in (and received HB for) is owned by my friend's brother. It was not a commercial arrangement (the house was bought specifically for their Father) - which I gather is also frowned upon.

    My friend and their brother are the executors, there was no will.

    What is likely to happen in these circumstances? I assume DWP will attempt to recover the entirety of the estate, but what happens to the remainder of the debt?

    I'm mainly concerned about the repercussions for my friend, could the debt be passed down to them? If it was discovered that their brother was complicit in the benefit fraud, could DWP attempt to recover the remainder from him (and would it affect my friend?)

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.
    Originally posted by amusingduck
    I think the first thing that needs to be done is to check why it is being said that benefits had been fraudulently claimed. Was this due to the father having undeclared savings? or something else?

    The concern about the housing benefit may be a bit of a red herring as to obtain housing benefits the father would have had to show a tenancy agreement and renting from a family would have probably had caused an investigation.

    But obviously this will depend on what benefits the father was receiving. There must be paperwork from the DWP/council about the alleged 'fraud'. Your friend needs to get this and find out exactly what has happened and check that everything is in order

    Once you know on what basis the fraud allegation has been made then the executors can investigate further.

    Solicitors know little about the benefit system so may just be accepting the DWP/council's word for it.

    The executors must get access to the paperwork. Only then can people give more specific help.
    • cattie
    • By cattie 21st Sep 16, 2:45 PM
    • 7,638 Posts
    • 5,163 Thanks
    cattie
    • #3
    • 21st Sep 16, 2:45 PM
    • #3
    • 21st Sep 16, 2:45 PM
    It isn't uncommon for solicitor's to find that a deceased person has been overpaid in benefits, although the amount stated here seems rather a large amount.

    It is usual for the solicitor to sort out any overpayment the claimant has received from the estate & no, it any amount not covered by the estate is not passed on to a claimants relatives unless they have been a part of a joint benefit claim with the deceased.
    The bigger the bargain, the better I feel.

    I should mention that there's only one of me, don't confuse me with others of the same name.
    • konark
    • By konark 21st Sep 16, 11:40 PM
    • 673 Posts
    • 509 Thanks
    konark
    • #4
    • 21st Sep 16, 11:40 PM
    • #4
    • 21st Sep 16, 11:40 PM
    My friend's brother has spoken to a solicitor and been informed that approximately £80k of benefits were fraudulently claimed by their Father.
    How does the solicitor know, is he the council's solicitor?

    Probate is nearly complete, but the oaths have not been signed, and the funds have not been distributed.
    If the oaths have not been sworn then probate is not nearly completed, it hasn't even been granted.

    My friend and their brother are the executors, there was no will.
    How do they know they are executors if there is no will?

    To complicate things further, the house that their Father lived in (and received HB for) is owned by my friend's brother. It was not a commercial arrangement (the house was bought specifically for their Father) - which I gather is also frowned upon.
    This may be the crux of the problem. An overpayment of , say , £500pcm would add up to £80,000 in 13 years.

    What is likely to happen in these circumstances? I assume DWP will attempt to recover the entirety of the estate, but what happens to the remainder of the debt?
    Is it DWP who are owed the money? It maybe the council, it may be both? Yes, they will seek to recover from the estate but must go through the courts to prove they are owed. Your friend and his brother are not liable for this, but the council may try to nail your friend's brother if they think he colluded. It will be difficult to prove he was complicit in the deception as he won't have signed any forms. If he has signed anything he'd better claim the signature was forged by his father.

    My advice would be not to administer such an estate, lest they get dragged into the fraud investigation themselves. Just walk away and claim no knowledge of their father's dodgy dealings.
    • p00hsticks
    • By p00hsticks 21st Sep 16, 11:48 PM
    • 4,854 Posts
    • 4,242 Thanks
    p00hsticks
    • #5
    • 21st Sep 16, 11:48 PM
    • #5
    • 21st Sep 16, 11:48 PM
    The Father was disabled and received Housing Benefit + DLA for many years.
    Originally posted by amusingduck
    DLA isn't means tested so any savings wouldn't be an issue.
    (Fraud could potentially occur if the persons condition improved and DWP weren't notifed, but I can't see how this would be identofied after a persons death).

    Housing Benefit falls under the Local Authority, not DWP
    • Mersey
    • By Mersey 22nd Sep 16, 12:21 AM
    • 1,111 Posts
    • 507 Thanks
    Mersey
    • #6
    • 22nd Sep 16, 12:21 AM
    • #6
    • 22nd Sep 16, 12:21 AM
    It isn't uncommon for solicitor's to find that a deceased person has been overpaid in benefits, although the amount stated here seems rather a large amount.

    It is usual for the solicitor to sort out any overpayment the claimant has received from the estate & no, it any amount not covered by the estate is not passed on to a claimants relatives unless they have been a part of a joint benefit claim with the deceased.
    Originally posted by cattie


    Unless the solicitor was also the executor they wouldn't do this.
    Indeed it'd be professional misconduct if they started to handle or distribute client monies without specific authorisation. Usually only in cases with no living relatives or trusts etc.


    The executor(s) (usually a relative(s)) deal with any debts/claims on the estate. The DWP also write to the executor(s) and not the lawyer.
    Please be polite to OPs and remember this is a site for Claimants and Appellants to seek redress against their bank, ex-boss or retailer. If they wanted morality or the view of the IoD or Bank they'd ask them.
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 22nd Sep 16, 1:17 AM
    • 18,459 Posts
    • 10,387 Thanks
    xylophone
    • #7
    • 22nd Sep 16, 1:17 AM
    • #7
    • 22nd Sep 16, 1:17 AM
    DLA is not means tested.


    Had the deceased informed the council that he was renting from his son a house specially purchased for his use?

    Has the question of a contrived tenancy been raised by the Council?

    Was the deceased claiming other benefits, Pension Credit perhaps?
    • Diary
    • By Diary 22nd Sep 16, 7:49 AM
    • 343 Posts
    • 362 Thanks
    Diary
    • #8
    • 22nd Sep 16, 7:49 AM
    • #8
    • 22nd Sep 16, 7:49 AM
    It's my understanding if a person dies intestate there are no executors and no obligation for anyone to gelt involved in the estate.

    Your friend should just walk away and let the solicitors get on with it for fear of being dragged in to his father's fraud. There is a specific word solicitors use for people who meddle in affairs that don't concern them and it the means the debt can become the persons debt by association, I have forgotten the term or even if this is accurate. I'm sure I will be corrected.
    "........and I assure you that my commentary on forums of public opinion will be most unkind". Johnny Awesome in Hillsbrad Foothills.
    • tomtom256
    • By tomtom256 22nd Sep 16, 8:18 AM
    • 715 Posts
    • 1,359 Thanks
    tomtom256
    • #9
    • 22nd Sep 16, 8:18 AM
    • #9
    • 22nd Sep 16, 8:18 AM
    Is the DWP investigating this as it is unclear how the solicitor has decided that benefit has been obtained fraudulently, unless he has assumed based on the £40k in the estate?

    Unless an invoice or debt recovery letter has been received could be something and nothing.

    safest option is to contact the council and discuss it with them or provide more information on how the fraud was discovered.
    • missapril75
    • By missapril75 23rd Sep 16, 7:42 PM
    • 1,532 Posts
    • 1,603 Thanks
    missapril75
    DLA isn't means tested so any savings wouldn't be an issue...
    Originally posted by p00hsticks
    DLA is not means tested...
    Originally posted by xylophone
    True enough, but it's existence does trigger higher awards of means tested benefits, so for those thinking the stated overpayment is high, this would be a contributing factor.
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