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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
please accept my sincere condolences for your loss
may I clarify that her housemate and ex-business partner are one and the same person or are these two individuals please?
The same person. They moved to Blackpool to run a hotel in 2004, the business was closed in 2009 as was costing them more than making. They shared small living accommodation, and a double bed and the woman, Jane, had elected herself next of kin when my mum became ill.
thank you. Do you know why they shared a joint account, in particular what it was used for and how much of the money in the account belonged to each person?
Mum had been receiving benefits for her illness, and my family (sister, mum's parents and siblings) never had a problem with this as they lived in Blackpool together and the rest of the family were in London and Aberdeen.
They didnt share a joint account. This was soley my mum's account. There was never a problem with Jane receiving my mum's benefits as she had been 'looking after' mum. But then Jane's behaviour changed once they got home to Aberdeen, and all of mum's family started becoming a little uncomfortable and suspiscious of her. She was cagey about mum's financial affairs, insurance, benefits etc. Because we all trusted her, we initially kept out of the finances etc. She also spent £50 from the account the day after my mum died.
Thanks. I will be with you in just a moment if thats ok...
Thanks for the above. Have you reported the withdrawals to the bank as potentially fraudulent? Have you challenged the housemate about the withdrawals?
I have not challenged her as we are no longer speaking due to her awful behaviour. She sent me a copy of mum's benefit letter a couple of weeks ago (no note or anything!) which stated that mum had received an over payment of £240 which had been paid into her account a few days after she died. Jane is clearly expecting me to pay it as i closed down mum's bank account with my sister a few weeks ago and my sister and I split the £1400 that was in there. Despite me contacting Jane 3x in the 10 days after the funeral to discuss mum's 'paperworky' stuff, she ignored me and had eventually bothered my mum's very elderly parents about closing the account and making a cheque payable to her (Jane) as it seems she tried to close the account bu the bank wouldn't let her. It was this action that prompted me to check mum's bank info as this was very surprising. I only found out about the withdrawals today.
thank you. Based upon what you say, if the account was in your mother's sole name, then if Jane withdrew monies from the account without your mother's permission, this would amount to either fraud or theft or both. if she had permission to access your mother's account, then if she withdrew money without your mother's permission and / or used money other than for the benefit of your mother, this would initially be a matter for the police but could be followed by a civil claim for recovery of the funds
the first step may be to contact Jane in writing to raise your concerns and advise that unless you receive a substantive explanation to your satisfaction within the next 2 to 3 days, you will be contacting the bank to report the withdrawals as suspected fraud.
Also, my mum started becoming very confused in September, by the time the hospital in Preston did her brian biopsy, she was almost like a little girl...
Banks maintain compressive CCTV recordings in respect of all cash points and will very likely be able to identify the individual withdrawing monies using recorded image restored. they can work with the police is necessary to bring a prosecution if they find fraudulent withdrawals from her account. The bank may or may not be liable to return the money to your mother's account if Jane withdrew the money fraudulently but in any event, if it can be demonstrated that she withdrew the money and did not use it for the purposes of your mother's affairs or benefit, as your mother's administrator, you could issue a civil claim in the County court to recover the money taken
if you find yourself in the position where you need to consider doing so, the simplest way to issue proceedings is by using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk if Jane has links to England and Wales or if she live permanently in Scotland in the Scottish courts which do not have an online facility at the moment
a claim can be issued in the Scottish courts using the forms available through the following link:http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/taking-action/small-claims
Im trying to read your reply but it is only showing on one line and keeps scrolling out of view- can I change the view on this page at all?!?!
I'm afraid I'm not certain as it depends what device you are using and so on. it may be simpler for us to continue in a question and answer format rather than chat. If you prefer to do this if you leave some feedback using the smiley faces this will enter the chat session and convert the thread into a question-and-answer format which may be easier for you to view. You can still continue to ask questions
That might be easier as the line of text keeps whizzing by, and I can see that you have a hefty answer for me! I intend going back to the bank to ask for more statements since my mum's illness started, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my bedridden and dying mother was not costing Jane hundreds of pounds in care in the last 8 weeks of her life (or ever for that matter). I did wonder how she was able to buy new tumble dryers / microwaves etc and keep their combined stuff in storage while she herself is on benefits... How can I convert to a Q&A session please?
There should be some smiley that allow you to leave some feedback so far. if you do this, the chat will end, save and convert into a question-and-answer format. There will still be a box for you to type replies and I will be around for another couple of hours yet this evening and can respond to any further questions you may have
I'll give that a whirl now...
I look forward to hearing from you further.
This looks great, I will need to investigate this further via the Scottish route, but as this also started in Sept in Blackpool so should I look at both?
Yes, she is still in temp accommodation and is on the council housing waiting list so should be staying in Aberdeen
In terms of the benefit payment, should I just pay that back as ultimately I withdrew the last of mum's money?
Thank you Joshua, plenty food for thought there.
Much appreciated and have a good weekend.
A pleasure. And you