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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 75036
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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A friend has come to me for help with an inheritance issue -

Customer Question

A friend has come to me for help with an inheritance issue - in Nov '16 her brother died intestate. As we understand it, his estate should have been valued and all remaining assets after creditors received their monies should have gone to her mother. Her sister was granted letters of administration by the court without my friend's knowledge.
However, a declaration to the DWP made by her sister suggested that her mother had no assets. Rather than going through the courts to pursue the inheritance she is owed according to intestacy laws, I wondered whether the best course of action was simply to inform the DWP and let them investigate the matter. To my mind, this goes beyond her sister not fully understanding her duties as administrator of the estate and she is guilty of at least defrauding the benefits agency. If she has also transferred ownership of assets that should have been handed over to her mother she may also be guilty of theft. Can I advise my friend to take this matter to the police and the DWP rather than having to spend a huge amount of money on solicitors - I have nothing against using the legal expertise of your colleagues, but she can ill afford the costs of doing so.
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, where is this? And when did this happen?
Customer: England, UK - The dates are between the death of her brother in Nov 2016 and the death of her mother in Jan 2019
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: DWP declaration
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: IHT forms
Submitted: 8 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 days ago.

Hi, welcome to JustAnswer. My name is Jo C, I’m a barrister with 12 years of experience and I am happy to help with your question today.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 days ago.

How can I help with this please?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
From what I can read, there is no body that we can go to with probate to lay out the evidence and get them to investigate the matter. It appears to be that my friend must go through the courts to seek justice which is both a costly and time consuming matter.
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
As the declaration to the DWP was clearly based on probate not being carried out appropriately, I need to know whether the DWP are likely to investigate this properly, and if on investigation they determine that an offence has been committed, whether they are likely to press charges. Would my friend be able to work with this investigation to achieve justice for her mum and brother?
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I would prefer not to discuss this over the phone.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 days ago.

So, in short, she made an inaccurate declaration to the DWP?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
It looks that way
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
From what I have seen of the declaration
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 days ago.

Thanks for the information

 

If it was an honest and understandable mistake then they will not prosecute for this.

 

If it looks as though it was not they probably would.

 

You can always head off the chances of prosecution by reporting it yourself rather than waiting for them to find it.

 

If you ask a more specific question then I could probably offer more.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.