ASK TONY: I lost Mum and Dad within 10 weeks, but bank won’t release the £5,000 they saved to pay for funerals

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My mother died in April, then my father became weak and tired.

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His GP, who did not see him, prescribed antidepressants. She died suddenly in the hospital ten weeks after the mother. They had been married for more than 60 years.

Dad told me he had money in his Barclays account to cover his funeral and any expenses.

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Denied: Barclays failed to provide a grieving daughter – who lost her mother and father within ten weeks – with money her father had saved for her funeral

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I sent Barclays a grant of probate, my father’s death certificate and my birth and marriage certificates, along with a council tax bill and bank statements to prove my identity. He refused to release any money and said that Dad didn’t have an active account.

Looks like they didn’t get a chance to tell Barclays about her mother’s death, so when I told them she had died, they removed her name from the joint account and put everything in the mother’s name.

When I explained the circumstances, Barclays asked for my passport or driver’s license as proof of ID.

I don’t have a passport and can’t drive because of heart ailment. I don’t have any benefits or pension book, no blue badge or gun license. I asked him to release the funeral cost of £5,000 but he refused.

Dad read the Granthshala every day and won a contest about share dealing in the late 1980s.

He had hidden the page with his documents. I hope you can help, Tony. I know dad will dress you up!

BW, High Wycombe, Bucks.

Tony Hazel replies: Why does Barclays often handle bereavement and power of attorney cases incorrectly?

One comment in your letter summarized its persistent problems: ‘Their grieving team has shown a total lack of compassion or understanding.’

Your father had £19,000 in his account. When I sought action, you were immediately given access. You have also been paid £200 compensation.

Barclays confirmed that the money should be released for funeral expenses.

It states that you did not submit the challan, but that was because they gave you misleading information.

The demand for photo identification was also Baloni’s burden.

I’ve been told that the staff member you spoke to was unsure of the process, so referred you to the bereavement team. But let us tell you that the bereaved party has also misled you.

broadband

How is this possible? Certainly all customer-facing staff should be trained in the fundamentals of dealing with bereaved customers, such as offering empathy, compassion and understanding no matter how busy, inexperienced or lacking in knowledge they may be.

A Barclays spokesperson says: ‘We apologize to our customer for the level of service he has experienced, which falls short of the high standards we strive for.’

Barclays says it has taken steps to streamline the bereavement service and has invested in additional training, as well as increasing the number of people working on its bereavement teams.

All I can say is that based on this evidence, Barclays, you need to invest a lot.

missing marriage allowance

My brother-in-law called HMRC about marriage allowance. He told that his wife was disabled.

He was told that he would have to apply online, but he neither had a computer nor knew how to use it.

I tried on their behalf but reached to a request for identification. My sister-in-law does not have a passport or other documents requested.

He is very ill, has dementia and is unable to talk on the phone.

HC, Oxford.

Tony Hazel replies: It annoys me that so many organizations are trying to force people to go online.

Even for the tech-savvy, computers become more difficult to access with age and online communication can expose vulnerable people to fraud.

Marriage allowance – up to £252 in this tax year – can be claimed where one partner is a basic-rate taxpayer and the other does not pay tax – meaning a taxable income of £12,570 or less.

After a prod, HMRC called your brother-in-law and helped him apply for marriage allowance.

While it is possible to claim four years past allowance, he was entitled to only one, because before that, he was a high rate taxpayer.

HMRC sent a check for £247 for the previous year and adjusted its tax code for this year.

I am sorry to learn that your sister-in-law has passed away.

An HMRC spokesperson says: ‘We are delighted to assist Mr. C with his marriage allowance claim. We express our condolences on his loss.

  • Write to [email protected] co.uk or Ask Tony, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT. Please include your phone number, address, and a note addressed to the offending organization that allows Tony Hazel to speak. We are sorry that we cannot respond to individual letters. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted for replies given by Granthshala

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