How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Buachaill Your Own Question
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10972
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
Type Your Law Question Here...
Buachaill is online now

My husband recently lost his Mother and has been in charge

This answer was rated:

My husband recently lost his Mother and has been in charge of winding up her estate. Several months after her death, my husband was contacted by Reading Borough Council and informed that his late Mum was due a refund on her account (approx £6000) - she had been paying bills for care in her home and subsequently a nursing home. The Council advised my husband to claim the funds which he did and he then distributed the money between three family members in accordance with her will.
Several weeks later, Reading Borough council got in touch to say that an error had been made and the £6000 had not in fact been owing (it was owed to another family).
My husband has contacted the beneficiaries who have already spent this 'inheritance' not unsurprisingly. He has asked the council to provide a detailed financial breakdown of his mum's account so that he can understand what has gone wrong at their end. They have failed to provide any explanation regarding this error and they have sent my husband an invoice for £6000. Is he legally obliged to pay this? The original £6000 has gone so it would have to come out of our pocket.
1. Dear Cath, your husband has a defence of change of position in that he, as executor, altered his position to his detriment in reliance upon the assertion that your mother had an additional £6,000 when she did not in fact do so. As the money has been dissipated to other beneficiaries, he is no longer under an obligation to pay Reading Borough Council the money back. Essentially the law does not force a person to return a mistaken payment where they have altered their position (change of position) detrimentally in reliance upon the payment having been made. Here your husband has acted to his detriment in paying away the monies to beneficiaries such that he now would have to pay the monies personally, if they are to be returned.
2. So your husband should write back to Reading BC and claim that the payment is not to be returned in relying upon the defence of change of position. He should make clear that he as executor paid away the monies in reliance upon them being paid and being monies belonging to his deceased mother. Explain as executor he paid out the monies to the potential beneficiaries and is now not able to get them back. ULtimately, he should reject their claim.
3. Please rate THE answer as unless you Rate the answer your expert receives no payment for answering your question so there is no incentive to answer any further questions.
Buachaill and other Law Specialists are ready to help you