Inheritance paid to wrong person, now demanding money back!! HELP!!

This is probably in the wrong section of the forum, but I'm unsure where to post it. I have a friend who is married with a baby, last year she had around £6000 put in her bank account by some solicitors in Scotland. When she queried it, she was told it was inheritance and it was definitely hers. They were expecting a baby and both on low income, so she spent it. A few months ago she started receiving letters saying there had infact been a mistake, and she has to pay the money back or she'll be taken to court. She did see a solicitor who advised her to either file bankruptcy, which she cannot do as she would have to provide evidence of her outgoings and the bills go out of her partner's account. They told her if it goes to court she will only have to pay back £10 a month, however, as the court is in Scotland, she feels she can't afford to go and has now resigned herself to trying to pay it back. They are a low income family with a young child and she can't sleep through the stress and worry of it all. It seems very unfair to me that they gave her this money, and she even queried it and they now have to struggle because of somebody else's mistake. Does anyone know where she stands legally? For instance if she just ignores it and doesn't show up to court, are they likely to rule in her absence for £10 a month, or will she be stuck with court fees? Do bailiff's have any power with is or not as she didn't actually borrow anything? I hate how stressed out they are over this as it isn't really their fault. Any advice welcome. Thank you.


  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,151 Forumite
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    She certainly shouldn't ignore it. If she cannot afford a Solicitor, she should go to the CAB.

    Alternatively, go back to the original solicitors and explain the situation and make an offer to pay back at an affordable rate. It's ultimately their fault, and if it were me I would be looking for a reduced sum in compensation and a long time to pay.
  • Dragon83
    Dragon83 Posts: 11 Forumite
    Thank you for your help. I think I need to talk to her more in depth and go through the details as I only have the bare bones of the story. I think you're right, she needs to pay it back, but the burden should be on the solicitor's as far as I can see. I think fighting for affordable repayments is the way to go. Thanks again
  • whitewing
    whitewing Posts: 11,852 Forumite
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    I personally think that she should seek her own legal advice and that potentially she may be justified in deducting the cost of such advice from any repayment (if her own solicitor agrees on that point).
    :heartsmil When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with glad cries of "Me too!" be sure to cherish them. Because these weirdos are your true family.
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