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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I have recently found out that my brother who was a downs syndrome

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I have recently found out that my brother who was a downs syndrome sufferer passed away last October, I am his only next of kin but the authorities did not make any attempt to find and inform me of his illness much less his passing, since finding out I have been in touch with social services and visited the care home where my brother was living, both of which are blaming each other, the care home has also disposed of my brothers personal effects apart from some photo albums, should they have done this in such a short time? More importantly should they have made an effort to find me? I feel that my brothers rights to have his family with him have been totally disregarded also my rights to be with him and to be able to decide on the type of funeral arrangements that were to be made, I can not even bury his ashes with my parents now as they have already been scattered. I am so upset and angry! please could you advise me on how to get some answers.... Thanking you in anticipation.. Mrs C Port

When did you last see your brother?

How old was he?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

It has been a number of years since I last saw my brother, he lived in Brighton E/Sussex, we live in S/Wales, this was due to work and home commitments and latterly due to my own failing health.

He was 58yrs

How easy would it have been to find you? Did the council know your address?

How would they know he had a sibling?

How do you know that they made no attempt to find you?

When did you last have any contact at all with yr brother; telephone or letter etc?

What do you want to achieve?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No they probably did not have our latest address, I am sure it would have been quite easy for them to find me with the use of the electorial roll. They told me that they had not looked for me because they didn't know about me, this is rubbish because he was in my care when both our father then our mother passed away, that information should have been on record! Because of my insistance that he should be allowed to attend my mothers funeral social services then became difficult and upon my brothers return to Brighton I was told that it would be best to stay out of his life, I did this to some degree because I would often see him around the town on our then, frequent trips to Brighton, we always spoke and he always looked very well, clean and happy so felt no need to interfere, I had also been to meet the family he was fostered with, he was with them for approximately 17yrs.

According to the manager of the care home he often spoke of me and my family and he had photo's of us with our names and relationships written on the back.


I last saw my brother about 5/6 years ago, I am sure he would have told anyone who would have listened to him that we had seen each other.


I am fully aware that I am to some degree at fault, I should never have allowed social services to dictate to me in that way, sadly I cannot turn back time.


I want to know why no attempt to find me was made as I do not believe that they didn't know about me... I suppose my aim is to make sure that this sort of thing does not happen to anyone else.

Let me tell you now that I am
not a lover of local authorities or local authority bureaucracy. They sit
behind their desks with their index linked pensions and index linked incomes,
drinking tea and generally having a good time. That's why no one ever leaves! I'm
sorry I appear cynical, but that is my view and my experience. I would be the
last person to jump to their defence. However, getting off my soapbox:...

I'm sorry but under the
circumstances I don't think you can expect the local authority to go back
beyond six years on the off chance that there may be a relative. Staff change
and unless anyone had any knowledge of it there is no way that they could have
known there was a sister unless there were cards all letters or something else,
somewhere in his effects that would point to that. There is no way would know
whether they had undertaken that task or whether the home that he was in had
undertaken that task. Certainly, the local authority deal enquire of care homes
if they know of any other relatives and if you had not seen him for five or six
years it is not unreasonable for them to say there was no one that they knew of.

You can raise a complaint with
the local authority and you can refer the matter to the Local Government
Ombudsman but it is not something that I think would come to anything.
Certainly, this will happen again in exactly the same way as it's happened
before. Your complaint will not make any difference whatsoever.

I'm sorry to be so blunt with
you and I appreciate that this is not the answer you wanted, although it may be
what you expected. There is no point in me misleading you and telling you that
yes, they have been absolutely negligent and go for it and you will get a
wonderful result, because you will not, in my experience and opinion. Sorry

Can I help further?

Please bear with me today
because I will be online and off-line.

Please don't forget to positively rate my answer service (even if it was not
what you wanted to hear) and I will follow up any further points you raise for

If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0
for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive rating. It
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If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little,
please ask me for further info before rating me negatively otherwise I don't get
paid at all for my time and answer.

The thread remains open.

Thank you.

James Mather and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thankyou for your help, your reply was much as I expected, though, I still feel that they knew of my existence and should have made some effort to have found me.

Am I able to ask to see my brothers records? I am puzzled as to why a post mortem was required when I was told that he had been in hospital for 18days suffering from a chest infection and died as a result of this.


I know I am like a dog with a bone, but, something just doesn't sit right with the information I have been getting, and feel that I am not getting the truth, there are so many contradictions!

Death after chest infection would normally require PM. I dont see anything unusual in that.

Do u mean medical records?