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Husband died, problems with joint bank account, Help please

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Husband died, problems with joint bank account, Help please

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
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SapphireDreamsSapphireDreams Forumite
4 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
My husband died suddenly a few weeks ago, he left a will naming me as executor and sole beneficiary. He left no savings or money, just personal possesions and the home we've lived in for the last twenty years or more. Money is short, I can't really afford to pay legal fees, and combined with dealing with the shock and emotional impact of his death, I'm having to deal with all the practical, legal and financial stuff. I find that still in a state of shock, I'm getting easily confused and getting stuff wrong alot, it's all making it harder, so I would appreciate advise on this problem with Lloyds, is it me being daft and getting confused and stressing over nothing, or are they somehow trying to con me into handing over controll of the estate, (really only my home), to them ?

When he died he had a debt of approximately £2000 on a Lloyds TSB credit card, there are no savings to pay this off with.

We also had a joint bank account with Lloyds TSB, who've been our bank for at least 20 years. All of the household bills are paid from this account mostly by direct debit.

Today I went to Lloyds and informed them of my husbands death, and asked them to change the joint account to an account just in my name. I'm very confused, and annoyed about what happened next, and feel that they were trying to con me or be dishonest with me, so I'm hoping someone here could advise on it. This is what happened.

They immediately mentioned the credit card debt, that surprised me, I told them there was no money left, only the family home, that I did not wish to be forced to sell that when the debt is only £2,000 and that I hoped that they might consider writing the debt off since it is so small. I also said that if they were insistent on it being paid then I would have to pay it by monthly installments. They then asked if I was getting a solicitor to deal with the estate, and I said I hadn't decided yet, they asked for death certificate, and to see the will, both of which I produced, though I thought it odd that they asked to see the will.

The weird thing is that he photocopied the death certificate instantly with a machine in the same room, but then left the room with my husband's will giving the excuse that he needed to photocopy it! He was gone at least ten minutes, during which time I grew quite suspicious of why he'd wanted the will.

When he returned he had a bundle of papers with him, which he shuffled around, tried to hide some pages of, and handed me one sheet saying I needed to sign it before they could change the account to a single account. My suspicions increased at this, and I insisted that I would not sign anything untill I had read it all, including the papers he had in his hands. He gave me the papers, which seemed all okay untill I got to the bit he wanted me to sign where it said something that concerned me greatly, this is the part that worries me :- 'As the deceased's legal representative I authorise Lloyds TSB to deal with the claimant named in section 2 on how the deceased's funds are to be distributed.'

That sounds to me like I'm giving Lloyds authority to decide what is done with the house and personal possessions my husband left me. And so I refused to sign the form, and asked for explanation of this, explanation wasn't given, I felt lied to and as though I was being conned, he just kept telling me I was getting confused, and not to worry because there weren't any funds anyway. In the end he gave me the forms, suggested I seek legal advice, and then sign them if I wanted to.

He also refused to change the joint account to just my name untill I had signed the forms, but did reassure me that all direct debits would continue to be paid, I'm still stressing over whether they will or not. So, is this just a standard form, and quite normal ? Or is there something odd with it ? I'm already really worried about funeral costs, and honestly don't want to end up paying hundreds of £s in legal costs, so if anyone could advise that would be much appreciated. Thanks. I am incredibly cycnical, and suspicious even at best of times, so really I don't know, am I being a little paranoid with this, and is the form really fine to sign ? My brain just has felt like mush ever since my husband died.
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  • sending you a hug, and hoping someone comes along soon with an answer x
  • edited 5 September 2012 at 11:34PM
    Fire_FoxFire_Fox Forumite
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    edited 5 September 2012 at 11:34PM
    Welcome to MSE.

    Debts that are in sole names die with that person, debts that are linked to joint accounts AFAIK do not. If this card is linked to your joint account you will need to pay the credit card debt, but no reason why you can't pay it by installments - maybe write to them and ask them to freeze the interest.

    That authorisation sounds to me like they want to take any money in the joint account to pay the credit card debt. Open a new current account somewhere else, stop depositing money into the Lloyds current account immediately/ draw out what is there in cash. I know that sounds like hassle but another bank will transfer all your direct debits over for you. If you want to sign the rest of the form just cross out the part you don't agree with.

    Possessions are part of you husband's estate, they may need to be sold to pay for the funeral or his debts. The beneficiary generally gets what is left. There is information online about the legal responsibilities of an executor, maybe research this? http://www.willans.co.uk/files/uploads/download/Willans_guidelines_for_executors.pdf
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  • Fire_Fox wrote: »
    Welcome to MSE.

    Debts that are in sole names die with that person, debts that are linked to joint accounts AFAIK do not. If this card is linked to your joint account you will need to pay the credit card debt, but no reason why you can't pay it by installments - maybe write to them and ask them to freeze the interest.

    That authorisation sounds to me like they want to take any money in the joint account to pay the credit card debt. Open a new current account somewhere else, stop depositing money into the Lloyds current account immediately/ draw out what is there in cash. I know that sounds like hassle but another bank will transfer all your direct debits over for you. If you want to sign the rest of the form just cross out the part you don't agree with.

    Sorry I'm not trying to detract from the op, but are you saying that if you have a personal credit card but the payments come out of a joint account, then the other person is liable?
  • DO NOT PUT PEN TO THAT PAPER ITS A CON THEY ARE TRYING TO GET YOU TO DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID

    if i was you id go back to the bank demand the Manager (if he on lunch tell them to get him ) just mention you like to report fraud THEY WILL GET HIM PROMPTO (i know none has been committed yet )but i would explain what happened that the guy/woman who tried to 'help' tried to get you to sighn everythign over with out explaining and just told you you were confused and also had no compassion for you (in this sensitive time ) and that you feel that youd like to report it and get some proper advice from the manager

    hope this helps but i would advise you get your 30 min fee with a solisitor
  • You poor love. So sorry your husband died suddenly.
    It's awful that the bank has treated you so badly especially when they know you are vulnerable.
    You are obviously sharper than you give yourself credit for, I'd probably have signed whatever I was told.
    Hope things get easier for you soon.
  • daskadaska Forumite
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    I'm very sorry for your loss. (((HUGS)))

    The way you have been treated is diabolical. Lloyds do not deserve your custom. I think the most sensible thing to do is to follow FireFox's suggestion.

    Get a list of direct debits and standing orders that are set up on the Lloyds a/c - if you have on-line banking you can get the details from that. If not just go to the counter staff and ask.

    If anyone tries to talk with you about the loan tell them that you are taking legal advice and will not talk with them about it or sign anything until you have done so. If they query why you want the list of DDs/STOs tell them it's because you want to make sure that all your husband's subscriptions are cancelled properly (which is something you should do anyway).

    Open an a/c with another bank and give the a/c number to employers/ benefits/ pension people immediately.

    Work out how much is yet to go out in direct debits and standing orders and leave that amount in the Lloyds a/c. Withdraw all the rest and move it to the new a/c. (Make sure you include enough to cover any loan payments just in case they try to take that as well.)

    The money in the joint account is YOURS. The loan, if it is in your husband's name, is hopefully not, it may depend on if/how it was secured. By limiting the amount of money in the a/c you will limit how much Lloyds can grab from from it.

    Go to the CAB and get some advice on the loan, take the loan agreement, the authorisation that Lloyds wanted you to sign and any other relevant paperwork.
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  • McKneffMcKneff Forumite
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    Debts in a sole name do not die with the person. They have to be paid from the estate. If there is no estate, then yes they are written off.
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • edited 6 September 2012 at 10:55AM
    pearl123pearl123 Forumite
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    edited 6 September 2012 at 10:55AM
    Firstly, I'm really sorry for your loss.

    I recommed this book - Probate Made Simple - by Andrew Komarnychyi it's got loads of letter templates in it. Really useful. You can adjust the letters to make them applicable to your position. That what I did. It also deals in simple language with various issues that you can come accoss. I used it and I did not have to pay a solicitor.

    I did not apply for a grant of representation because ourswas just a small estate therefore I was frequently was asked for a copy of the will (which I got certified from a solisitor for free) and a death certificate. So it is quite normal for companies to ask for this paperwork. (I was rather intimidated with the whole probate process but in the end I found it fairly easy)

    I agree with the other posters who say write an offer to pay of any debts. CAB would be a great help will all of this.
    Best Wishes
  • Fire_FoxFire_Fox Forumite
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    Dotty1 wrote: »
    Sorry I'm not trying to detract from the op, but are you saying that if you have a personal credit card but the payments come out of a joint account, then the other person is liable?

    I meant what I said "if the card is linked to the joint account", that is not the same as where the payments come from. Where there are joint debts both parties are liable for the full amount, loans or credit cards linked to joint accounts are joint debts, even if only one person spent the money.
    McKneff wrote: »
    Debts in a sole name do not die with the person. They have to be paid from the estate. If there is no estate, then yes they are written off.

    Sorry my post was worded badly. :o I meant the remainder of the debts if there is not enough in the estate, I did later say the possessions may need to be sold to pay the debt.
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  • edited 6 September 2012 at 7:08PM
    daskadaska Forumite
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    edited 6 September 2012 at 7:08PM
    McKneff wrote: »
    Debts in a sole name do not die with the person. They have to be paid from the estate. If there is no estate, then yes they are written off.

    Yes, sorry, I've just re-read my post and I obviously deleted that bit while I was re-writing it hoping to make it clearer. :o

    SapphireDreams:
    The contents of the joint a/c do not form part of the estate, the money in there automatically passes to you, therefore Lloyds are not entitled to take that money from that a/c as it is now YOUR money. The house, if it was jointly owned (not as tenants in common) is also yours under the law of survivorship. So if there were no saving then there would be no estate other than the personal property. If you owned the property as tenants in common or he owned it outright then the house forms part of the estate.

    The loan is a different matter. It is not your loan but the debt is (probably) payable from your late husband's estate - if there is any estate to pay it with! This may depend on what name/s it was in, whether it was secured (e.g. against the house) or whether there is a clause, or possibly insurance that would cover repayment in the event of sickness or death.

    That's why you need to take the paperwork to someone who can help you work out what constitutes the estate and therefore the estate's liability is.

    Trying to get you to sign paperwork without explaining it, letting you read it or letting you get legal advice was diabolical.
    Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants - Michael Pollan
    48 down, 22 to go
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