Apologies for the lengthy email - Sadly I lost my Father back in January 2015. He had a part buy/part rent property, owning 25% share which left £60k to the estate. My Father also had an IVA in force at the time of death.
During the lengthy process of selling, I was informed by my Solicitor that even though my Father bequeathed ALL Net Estate equity to me and my two children, I was told that I would not be entitled to anything as ANY net estate balance would go straight into the IVA (this already totalled some £61k at the time of death). However, I chose to challenge the IVA company in that they did not clearly state to my Father what the implications were of entering into an IVA inside their terms and conditions, let alone verbally. It was always my Father's understanding that the balance would be left to me and my children. So I requested that a Variation Meeting be held, and I submitted an offer of a 50% share of the net estate equity, and it was approved.
Consequently, this has left me and my two children a total Net Estate of £16,899.84.
My Father requested in his Will that £2k were left to each child = £4k, therefore reducing my share to £12,899.84.
Probate date is Sunday 21st February, at which point, my solicitor will be forwarding me the balance into my account, and then submitting a Trust & Estate Tax Return on my behalf charging £200+VAT (£16,899.84 - £240=£16,659.84 total).
This is my query: Shortly after my Father's death, myself (single parent of 53 years of age), and my two children - who suffer from mental health issues, were about to be made homeless from our current privately rented property. We have only just been secured a Housing Association property. I am in receipt of Housing Benefits, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit (as I work from home on a low income), Carer's Allowance and Council Tax Allowance (currently at £0). I have not had ANY savings in any accounts since being in receipt of the above benefits.
My Housing Benefit is currently £196.20 a week, £784.80 paid every 4 weeks.
My solicitors kindly released (with approval from the joint executor) £5k to me prior to probate because of our pending rehousing next week, as the property has no carpets, no curtains, no washing machine, no cooker etc., and I have had to spend this first £5k in order to ensure that the property is habitable, being a New Build, and to pay for the move.
Obviously after probate date, I will then receive a further £7,658.84 (after having placed £2k into both my children's accounts as they are both under 18), as per my Father's Will.
I am assuming that my children's £4k will not be considered as "Tariff Income" by housing, but my £12,659.84 will be? Obviously this is over the £6k allowance, but does not exceed the £16,000.00 whereby I would not receive any Housing Benefit at all.
My query is, would Housing Benefit possibly "disregard" the first £5k I received out of this balance, to be reasonable expenditure in light of the property we have been supplied with? Ie. had we been placed into an already carpeted property, with appliances, curtain rails etc., I would not have had this expenditure? Or are they likely to include this regardless?
I am mindful that this unexpected inheritance has come at a very awkward time with having to work out my new housing benefit allowance, but my situation will remain unchanged generally in terms of income. My eldest daughter receives Disability Living Allowance, and I am her full time carer. She will turn 18 in April, but will still be unable to work due to the severity of her mental health problems, so will be unable to work. I am hoping their legacies will be unaffected, and won't be included in my savings as it is under £3k (I believe this is the set limit)?
Once I have signed up for the property, I would then need to go to the Housing Department anyway in order to work out what my new allowance will be, and who it is payable to. At this point, I will need to inform them of me and my children's inheritance. I am guessing that I am entitled to request that they disregard the first £5k as a possibility, because of the situation they have moved us into?
So on the working outs - if they include the £5k, that means they would be working on my inheritance of £12,659.84. Am I right in that they would deduct £1 for every £250 of savings, ie. I think that would be £51.20 off my Housing Benefit every week, £204.80 every four weeks when I receive payment?
I am also mindful that no matter what happens, because of my low income, and living expenses, bills etc., that I would no doubt be forced to have to "dip into" what would otherwise be savings, as I'm not sure I would be able to pay the full rent expected with this reduced Housing Benefit. What therefore happens when this amount of inheritance reduces over time?
What other benefits that I receive above are affected as "Means Tested"?
Apologies again for the lengthy query.