Department for Work & Pensions & Estates
One of the most frustrating moments as a probate lawyer is receiving a letter from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) requesting a schedule of assets and liabilities as they are investigating payments made to the deceased. Often this process is drawn out and incredibly time consuming for all involved. The DWP frequently requests statements dating back to 2006, which many banks do not retain. This then prolongs the DWP’s investigation and consequently the handling of the estate. In some cases, such an investigation has taken more than two years.
While the DWP are investigating, the estate cannot be distributed. At Lawson-West, we have seen situations where lay executors have distributed the estate only to find out that money is owed to the DWP. The executors then end up personally responsible for repaying the DWP or chasing beneficiaries for the money.
Following a complaint from a solicitor, the DWP has now promised to review how it handles the investigation of overpayments. If you are experiencing difficulties in administering an estate due to DWP involvement, please contact probate specialist Andrea Jones at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000.View all