Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Advice Appreciated

davesumdavesum Member Posts: 13 Listener


I have many health issues myself and was going to join anyway, but this is on behalf of someone else. The whole situation confuses me, let alone anyone else.

One huge mess about to unravel.

My friend has today received £45,000. She has been on ESA. Great news you would think? Not so. It was an inheritance, that turned into a loan, that.....

Well, she's mentally unwell which is why she needs a lot of help and she hasn't a clue what she has signed and when.
This is just rough timeframes, but she is totally unaware she was left a 1/4 share in a house through a will. Two years ago, approximately, she had a letter saying the house had been split into four parts and that no money was forthcoming, instead one of the people in the share wanted to keep the house. Then, in 18 months each of the three other people would receive £45,000.

She has no understanding of what she signed, there weren't even any dates on the agreement. She asked others for help, who did help her, but she was constantly getting pressure telephone calls to 'sign quick'.

DWP got wind and tried accusing her of having 45k assets, even though she had no idea about it and was never going to get her hands on 45k as the person who wanted to keep it did not have 45k to give her.

She phoned ESA today to pause her claim (s o she could get NI contributions still paid) and the person told her what she needed to do - send a copy of the bank statement and all the letters regarding the 'inheritance'. However, the letter I have now seen states "Repayment of loan".

She doesn't even want the £45,000. From the beginning she said she just wanted it to go away. She's not mentally able to cope with such money and the 'will', 'loan', 'inheritance' and all the forms were way over her head and she may have been given incorrect advice from various people, including CAB.

At the time (2 years ago maybe), she was interviewed by DWP who were accusatory, but then they accepted and left her alone, but I fear now it's all going to kick off again.

She should be happy with 45k and off of benefits, but all she can do now is panic and repeat over and over......I don't want the money.

We are probably going to need to speak to someone to help. I'm not sure how much help her support workers will be, but I can see DWP considering this deprivation of assets, regardless of her mental health difficulties and total non-understanding of the whole will and loan situation - she was just told to sign and she did to get people to go away. She's someone who panics when the wind changes direction.

Any ideas who to speak too? Any rganisations that can help?

Many thanks.

Dave

Replies

  • davesumdavesum Member Posts: 13 Listener
    edited August 2019
    Sorry, said it didn't post 3 times, hence multiple posts.

    Original post still requires advice, thanks.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2019
    Hi,

    Yes, you're right urgent face to face advice is needed here. I'm not sure what you mean by the "loan" as she was left a share of the house in a will. Start with either welfare rights or a law centre and maybe even her local CAB. This link will tell you what's available local to her. https://advicelocal.uk/

    Also if she's claiming housing benefit and council tax reduction they will also need to know the changes.

    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • davesumdavesum Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Thanks for the link.

    It confuses me.

    As I understand it, her father left in his will the request that when all family members, including his wife, left the house, it would be sold and split four ways.

    Instead, one brother wanted to keep the house, so asked for the other three parts to be 'loaned' at a value of £45,000 per part and that he would repay this with £45,00 cash in 18 months, which turned into two years.

    She has told the council too re: HB and CTB.

  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    For what it's worth your friend has my sympathies as we are currently going through winding up my late fathers estate (house) and dividing it between 4 adult children including me. My brother lives in the house and after some time and discussion agreed that he should get a smaller property after the house is sold. I'm the executor and we have taken legal advice as there is no will and it's complicated. If your friend cannot deal with this on her own then she should have an advocate. Her mental capacity may be assessed. At the moment who looks after her financial affairs? Does she have an advocate? I know that these situations can cause enormous pressure and multiply that be other factors and it's a time bomb at times. I would advise her to see legal advise or talk to her carers who may know more about what help she receives/requires to deal with this. I hope this helps.
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • davesumdavesum Member Posts: 13 Listener
    debbiedo49 - I'm sorry you are going through a similar situation yourself. I hope it gets sorted with a positive outcome.

    She looks after her own financial affairs, but I see her twice a week and help with anything important. She can just about manage with bills/groceries as they are the same each month. I've had to write down all her incomings and help with her outgoings though she does have a spending issue. I've had to 'lend' money and sort out bank charges in the past.

    She doesn't have an advocate. She has someone who helps look out for her, a therapist she pays and a MIND worker who visits her.

    She was worried about getting the money and now even more worried she may get in trouble for something she doesn't understand. 

    I will have to try and find something and someone that can help her as I can only do so much. I have numerous illnesses myself and it takes it's toll on me, physically and mentally.

    Thanks for your reply
  • April2018momApril2018mom Member - under moderation Posts: 2,882 Member - under moderation
    My advice is to talk to a lawyer. There are numerous lawyer firms all over the country. Call or email tomorrow morning. Also talk with her family. 
  • davesumdavesum Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Thanks April2018mom.

    Sorry for the late reply. I have been busy. As of yet, no reply from DWP, so we sit and wait.
  • david235david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    @davesum I join @April2018mom in believing this is a situation where it is worth the lady in question - or those advising her - getting advice from a solicitor.

    As you note, a particular risk here is an accusation of intentional deprivation of capital. She cannot simply decline the money she is entitled to; if she does so, DWP (and, if relevant, her local council) will treat her as if she has it and she will lose any means-tested benefits.

    There are several issues I can see here:
    • what was the nature and terms of the original bequest?
    • what was the nature of the agreement and was it binding on her if she signed it?
    • did she have mental capacity to enter into that agreement?
    • if she had mental capacity, was she unduly influenced to sign that agreement?
    • does she have mental capacity today - and if not, what needs to be done about it?
    • what is the effect of all this on her entitlement to means-tested benefits?

    I have grave doubts that the agreement - which I presume was to delay her entitlement to anything in respect of her quarter share in the house and then fix the value of that share at £45k - was ever binding on her. In a family context there is the possibility of lack of contractual intent, though I suspect intent exists. If the agreement was not signed as a deed following the correct formalities then it might be void for lack of consideration, as all your friend might have got was disbenefit by signing it (especially if £45k turns out to be an undervalue). I question whether she had mental capacity to enter into that agreement - and even if she did, I think she may well have been unduly influenced to enter into it.

    A proper investigation might also unearth issues of trust and probate law concerning the behaviour of the executors of the will.


    The benefits side of this is really just an addendum. Considering the sum at stake and the potential knock-on problems with benefits, paying a solicitor for a couple of hours of his or her time to go through the situation may well be money well spent.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @davesum, how are you doing?
    Community Partner
    Scope

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  • davesumdavesum Member Posts: 13 Listener
    david235 said:
    @davesum I join @April2018mom in believing this is a situation where it is worth the lady in question - or those advising her - getting advice from a solicitor.

    As you note, a particular risk here is an accusation of intentional deprivation of capital. She cannot simply decline the money she is entitled to; if she does so, DWP (and, if relevant, her local council) will treat her as if she has it and she will lose any means-tested benefits.

    There are several issues I can see here:
    • what was the nature and terms of the original bequest?
    • what was the nature of the agreement and was it binding on her if she signed it?
    • did she have mental capacity to enter into that agreement?
    • if she had mental capacity, was she unduly influenced to sign that agreement?
    • does she have mental capacity today - and if not, what needs to be done about it?
    • what is the effect of all this on her entitlement to means-tested benefits?

    I have grave doubts that the agreement - which I presume was to delay her entitlement to anything in respect of her quarter share in the house and then fix the value of that share at £45k - was ever binding on her. In a family context there is the possibility of lack of contractual intent, though I suspect intent exists. If the agreement was not signed as a deed following the correct formalities then it might be void for lack of consideration, as all your friend might have got was disbenefit by signing it (especially if £45k turns out to be an undervalue). I question whether she had mental capacity to enter into that agreement - and even if she did, I think she may well have been unduly influenced to enter into it.

    A proper investigation might also unearth issues of trust and probate law concerning the behaviour of the executors of the will.


    The benefits side of this is really just an addendum. Considering the sum at stake and the potential knock-on problems with benefits, paying a solicitor for a couple of hours of his or her time to go through the situation may well be money well spent.
    Thank you for your response, david. Apologies for such a late reply, i've not been too well.

    At the moment all is well with this. It is subject to change, so I shall print off your post, just incase I can't come on here again for a similar period of time. Thank you for going into so much detail, it is appreciated.
  • davesumdavesum Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Hi @davesum, how are you doing?
    Hi Chloe,

    It's been a tough couple of months personally, physically. Struggling along and I have no-one, but that's not anything unusual, so will just have to get through.

    Thanks for asking.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @davesum, I'm sorry to hear you have been struggling, it cannot have been an easy few months. Is there anything we can do to help?
    Community Partner
    Scope

    Tell us what you think?
    Complete our feedback form to help us to improve your community.
  • davesumdavesum Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Thanks Chloe. I'm ok. Just suffering with my own health conditions. I seem to help everyone else but no-one helps me, so i'm very independent. I'll get through.
  • Jean EveleighJean Eveleigh Member Posts: 103 Pioneering
    not sure how helpful it will be but your friend could look into getting the "inheritance/loan) put into a trust fund to support her long term care needs - again this would need advice from a specialist health and benefits solicitor such as https://www.duncanlewis.co.uk/welfarebenefits_ourteam.html 

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