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  • FIRST POST
    • Leothecat
    • By Leothecat 29th Sep 17, 7:29 AM
    • 1,422Posts
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    Leothecat
    POA after death - executor and beneficiary
    • #1
    • 29th Sep 17, 7:29 AM
    POA after death - executor and beneficiary 29th Sep 17 at 7:29 AM
    My father sadly passed away earlier in the week.

    I am one of three children and had POA for my father.
    I am (along with my siblings) executor and a beneficiary of the will.

    I have been dealing with my father's accounts (paying bills, writing cheques and withdrawing cash for him) for the past 6 months.

    When I registered the death and visited the funeral directors, I made payments using my father's debit card.

    I've since been told that I could be prosecuted for fraud for making these payments.

    Is this correct? How would we be expected to pay for the funeral and all my father's final bills if this is true? Unfortunately I am not in the position to make these payments as they run into thousands for the care home and funeral. There are sufficient funds in my father's account to cover all payments.

    I've not yet informed the bank but intend to do so this morning.
    My siblings are more than happy for me to look after my father's money and I've kept a spread sheet of all spending for the last 6 months for anyone to look at.

    Please can anyone offer any advice? This is making me very anxious on top of everything else.
    Thank you.
Page 1
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 29th Sep 17, 7:55 AM
    • 29,995 Posts
    • 17,927 Thanks
    getmore4less
    • #2
    • 29th Sep 17, 7:55 AM
    • #2
    • 29th Sep 17, 7:55 AM
    POA ceases on death.

    although you should no longer deal with finances the threats of fraud etc can be exaggerated by some, just stop doing that now under the POA and account for all cash flow.

    You move into estate administration as named executor(s) you get the powers from the will(the probate grant just confirms this and makes it easy for institutions).

    Those owed money have to wait.

    Funeral expenses could have been released by the executor asking the bank and showing them the invoice.

    probably worth reading a few of the "what to do when someone dies" documents to get you started if not familiar with the administration process.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4896302
    https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/death-and-wills/what-to-do-after-a-death/
    http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/what-to-do-when-someone-dies/
    http://www.which.co.uk/money/what-to-do-when-someone-dies/
    • loulou41
    • By loulou41 29th Sep 17, 8:12 AM
    • 2,609 Posts
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    loulou41
    • #3
    • 29th Sep 17, 8:12 AM
    • #3
    • 29th Sep 17, 8:12 AM
    I hope somebody more experienced replied to your post. I do not think it is legal to use the deceased debit cards. You said you have poa but it does not make it legal after his death. What you should have done is to have a joint accounts? I am thinking ahead and am leaving a sum of money with my daughter to cover the costs of the funeral. It was ignorance on your part if you explained it to the bank. I hope you will not get into trouble. Sorry for your loss you do not need this worry as well.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 29th Sep 17, 8:44 AM
    • 3,140 Posts
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    Yorkshireman99
    • #4
    • 29th Sep 17, 8:44 AM
    • #4
    • 29th Sep 17, 8:44 AM
    My father sadly passed away earlier in the week.

    I am one of three children and had POA for my father.
    I am (along with my siblings) executor and a beneficiary of the will.

    I have been dealing with my father's accounts (paying bills, writing cheques and withdrawing cash for him) for the past 6 months.

    When I registered the death and visited the funeral directors, I made payments using my father's debit card.

    I've since been told that I could be prosecuted for fraud for making these payments.

    Is this correct? How would we be expected to pay for the funeral and all my father's final bills if this is true? Unfortunately I am not in the position to make these payments as they run into thousands for the care home and funeral. There are sufficient funds in my father's account to cover all payments.

    I've not yet informed the bank but intend to do so this morning.
    My siblings are more than happy for me to look after my father's money and I've kept a spread sheet of all spending for the last 6 months for anyone to look at.

    Please can anyone offer any advice? This is making me very anxious on top of everything else.
    Thank you.
    Originally posted by Leothecat
    ALthough you could be guilty of fraud it is unlikely you will be prosecuted. The bank may not be happy about the unautorised use of the card which must cease. How much is the estate worth? Is there a property involved?
    • TonyMMM
    • By TonyMMM 29th Sep 17, 8:54 AM
    • 2,459 Posts
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    TonyMMM
    • #5
    • 29th Sep 17, 8:54 AM
    • #5
    • 29th Sep 17, 8:54 AM
    Don't worry - so long as the money is accounted for no-one is going to to worry about potential fraud (which it isn't anyway).

    It is quite normal for the funeral director to send their bill direct to the bank who will then pay it from the account of the deceased .... you just did it direct.

    As above - your POA has ceased and you shouldn't be accessing your father's accounts now. But, as executor you will need to access his accounts to deal with the estate - depending on the amount in the accounts, the bank may or may not require probate to be granted to you first.
    Last edited by TonyMMM; 29-09-2017 at 9:31 AM.
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 29th Sep 17, 9:16 AM
    • 121 Posts
    • 72 Thanks
    Margot123
    • #6
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:16 AM
    • #6
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:16 AM
    Please accept my condolences.
    Do not worry about being prosecuted over the payments you made. I made exactly the same mistake just a few months ago. I was a POA, and in the midst of the grief, I paid for essential items (house insurance, final demands etc) using the deceased's card, even though I have since found out that I shouldn't have.
    I was so worried that I consulted a solicitor, who reassured me that no one would consider prosecuting an individual who acted in the best interests of the estate.
    I have since been to the bank and explained the use of the cards, and they found no issue at all when provided with evidence of what the money was spent on. The manager was very sympathetic, but also made sure that the account was locked until probate.
    You have enough on your plate with the grieving, please do be reassured that nothing will come of what you have done.
    Also, remember that you must return the POA document as that ceased on your Father's passing.
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 29th Sep 17, 9:29 AM
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    Malthusian
    • #7
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:29 AM
    • #7
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:29 AM
    Who told you that you could be prosecuted for fraud? Given that the country is rife with Ponzi scams and pension scams for which no-one is ever prosecuted, the idea that someone would be prosecuted for using a bank card where no actual loss has arisen is laughable.

    You have not gained anything from what you did and no-one has suffered a loss (because the funeral director's bill would have been paid anyway). So the idea that a fraud has taken place collapses at the first hurdle. Fraud Act 2006 S2 (1)(b) and the equivalent clauses of S3 and 4. At worst it is a breach of the bank's Ts and Cs, which is not a criminal offence.

    People do say some daft things.
    • Linton
    • By Linton 29th Sep 17, 9:33 AM
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    Linton
    • #8
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:33 AM
    • #8
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:33 AM
    Once you have told the bank of your father's death which should be done as one of the first actions after death you wont be able to use the card. Using the card was wrong, but should not have any ill effect provided you have good records of what happened to the money.

    Paying for funerals and final bills should not cost you anything. The funeral director can send the bill to the bank who will pay him. For any other debts you can tell the creditors that they will be paid once the money in the bank account has been released. Presumably the care home will be used to this.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 29th Sep 17, 9:47 AM
    • 3,746 Posts
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    Keep pedalling
    • #9
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:47 AM
    • #9
    • 29th Sep 17, 9:47 AM
    I am thinking ahead and am leaving a sum of money with my daughter to cover the costs of the funeral. It was ignorance on your part if you explained it to the bank. I hope you will not get into trouble. Sorry for your loss you do not need this worry as well.
    Originally posted by loulou41
    Have you considered a pre payment plan? If, as is likely, you live for many more years any sum you give her now to cover funeral costs, is likely to become woefully short due to inflation. There is also the issue that she could run into financial difficult, or even diebefore you.

    That may sound a bit alarmist, but these things do happen, which is why a solicitor will talk through all these what is scenarios when making a will with you.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 29th Sep 17, 11:58 AM
    • 60,259 Posts
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    PasturesNew
    It is technically correct. The minute a person dies their account should not be touched by any card holders.

    Do not fear. Many people have made exactly the same mistake/assumption that you have.

    There are ways forward ... somebody will point you to what to do.

    The funeral director won't like to set up an account for you - they do want to either get the money up front, or the name of a solicitor who is doing the probate (as they know they'll be paid), but if you're doing it yourself they don't have any assurances that you'll simply say "Ha ha - so sue me ... I'm not paying; what'll you do? Dig him up and prop him up against my front door? I don't think so!" as they then book a holiday with the estate money and go off on a jolly.
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 29th Sep 17, 5:01 PM
    • 121 Posts
    • 72 Thanks
    Margot123
    Following on from my earlier post, it would be wise for you to insist that all utility companies etc address any bills to 'The Executors of............'. I made the mistake of allowing the deceased's bills to come to my home address, addressed to me. Guess who has been threatened with debt collectors? Needless to say, I have now paid these bills in the hope that probate will repay!
    • JosephK
    • By JosephK 30th Sep 17, 7:29 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    JosephK
    PoA/Use of debit card
    My condolences on your loss.

    As Yorkshireman said, PoA ceases on death but no-one with an ounce of sense is going to prosecute you for using the card immediately after death. Would only be if continued to use it for your own benefit which obviously you're not going to.

    You seem to have next stage in hand - see the bank. Assuming they are on the ball, they will advise re setting up executor account (if necessary), dealing with bills, etc. which should deal with any immediate worry.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 30th Sep 17, 10:10 PM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 2,466 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    Who told you that you could be prosecuted for fraud? Given that the country is rife with Ponzi scams and pension scams for which no-one is ever prosecuted, the idea that someone would be prosecuted for using a bank card where no actual loss has arisen is laughable.

    You have not gained anything from what you did and no-one has suffered a loss (because the funeral director's bill would have been paid anyway). So the idea that a fraud has taken place collapses at the first hurdle. Fraud Act 2006 S2 (1)(b) and the equivalent clauses of S3 and 4. At worst it is a breach of the bank's Ts and Cs, which is not a criminal offence.

    People do say some daft things.
    Originally posted by Malthusian
    There does not have to be any actual loss. Exposing the bank to the risk of loss is sufficient. In any case there are other offences under the legislation covering misuse of computer systems. Just because the offence my be regarded by some as trivial does not mean an offence has not been committed. Nor does the fact that many bank cards are, it would seem, routinely misused by family memebrs with the cardholder's permission make is acceptable or legal. In the OP's case then they will probably get away with it because the bank is unlikely to want the publicity.
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 2nd Oct 17, 9:38 AM
    • 3,049 Posts
    • 4,414 Thanks
    Malthusian
    There does not have to be any actual loss. Exposing the bank to the risk of loss is sufficient.
    Originally posted by Yorkshireman99
    True. But that didn't happen either.

    In any case there are other offences under the legislation covering misuse of computer systems.
    I was taking issue with whichever helpful soul told the OP they could be prosecuted for fraud. If they'd been told they might be prosecuted for "misuse of computer systems" we could discuss the chapter and verse of that Act.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 2nd Oct 17, 10:10 AM
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    Yorkshireman99
    True. But that didn't happen either.

    I was taking issue with whichever helpful soul told the OP they could be prosecuted for fraud. If they'd been told they might be prosecuted for "misuse of computer systems" we could discuss the chapter and verse of that Act.
    Originally posted by Malthusian
    It is semantics really. Regardless of what offence(s) may have been committed there is, albeit slight risk of prosecution, the fact that using a debit card that is not yours is an offence not just a breach of the bank's T & C as you suggest. That was what was trying to make as a general point.
    • Leothecat
    • By Leothecat 2nd Oct 17, 2:13 PM
    • 1,422 Posts
    • 11,221 Thanks
    Leothecat
    Thank you for all your replies.


    So I've spoken to the bank and thankfully they were very understanding. Everything I paid out for was funeral related and I have receipts for it all. The bank has agreed to honour it all as I was able to give exact figures of what's to come out.


    Also, their policy is that as the current account held under £25k the executors and beneficiaries need only to make an appointment and go in with id and a copy of the will and death certificate to have this paid out - no need to wait for probate to be granted.


    What I would say to anyone acting as POA for anyone is, keep receipts and a spreadsheet of all spending. I've not needed it yet but I'm very relieved to have these just in case.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 2nd Oct 17, 4:51 PM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 2,466 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    Thank you for all your replies.


    So I've spoken to the bank and thankfully they were very understanding. Everything I paid out for was funeral related and I have receipts for it all. The bank has agreed to honour it all as I was able to give exact figures of what's to come out.


    Also, their policy is that as the current account held under £25k the executors and beneficiaries need only to make an appointment and go in with id and a copy of the will and death certificate to have this paid out - no need to wait for probate to be granted.


    What I would say to anyone acting as POA for anyone is, keep receipts and a spreadsheet of all spending. I've not needed it yet but I'm very relieved to have these just in case.
    Originally posted by Leothecat
    Noted and thanks. The only thing I would say is beware of putting the money in your own account pending paying it out. If disaster strikes then it could then cause problems for your executors. Ask the bank if they can hold the money in an executor’s account instead. Some will do this.
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