Welcome to this month’s pick of the blogs.
This month my favourite read was by Paul Lewis.
In his article Paul addresses an area that is encountered fairly regularly in debt advice sessions. Is a client liable for the debt of someone who has died?
Paul has looked at one particular debt in his blog – debts to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). As advisers have found with other debts owed by a person who has died, communications to their family and friends may tread a fine line between a request for voluntary payment and a mis-leading demand for payment.
Because of the DWP’s systems and practices, some payment for benefits can continue to be paid after a person has died. These payments are payment made by “official error” and are not recoverable from the estate. However, a letter requesting repayment is sent out by the DWP and in many cases payment will be made; either by the family or friends of the deceased, or by executors of the estate, often solicitors, who fail to consider liability and challenge demands for payment.
There is a link to a Supreme Court case from 2010 that provides that a claim of restitution for unjust enrichment cannot be brought where the payment has been made by official error. Where an executor mistakenly pays a DWP debt that was paid by official error after a person has died, the executor could be liable to refund the payment to the estate.
Read the full article here: paullewismoney.blogspot.com/2019/03/dwp-cannot-enforce-demands-to-repay.html
In other blogs:
I loved the blog piece by Sara from Debt Camel on “Going bankrupt in England & Wales – a checklist.” Advisers probably wouldn’t be looking to use this piece to inform themselves about bankruptcy, but I can see a real benefit to advisers referring their clients to the blog. It provides updated practical information about using the online bankruptcy process. It is written very clearly with short, snappy paragraphs and links to further reading for those who want to delve deeper. Clients in debt often feel overwhelmed and suffer from “information overload”. This blog piece offers basic advice, free from complex instructions and technical language.
Finally, it was interesting to read Martin Lewis’s opinion on the energy price cap. Looking at energy bills and budgeting is part of the work we do during income maximisation, so I had tentatively mentioned the price cap in our discussion forum several months ago. I was hoping that this move would encourage more switching with potential savings of hundreds of pounds. I am disappointed to read that it isn’t going as well as expected and people could actually be losing money.
Have you read any good blogs recently? Let us know in our discussion forum. More blogs next month.
In other news
Have you seen the leaflet “Money Worries and how to beat them” in our resources directory? What a fantastic little leaflet. Written by Dr Simon McNair from Leeds University, it was presented at the Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire Money Advice group recently.
Written to be provided to debt clients it explains the physical symptoms related to stress that people in debt often experience. It explains what these symptoms are and how you may be able to deal with them. It also looks at coping with the emotional side of being in debt, feelings of self-doubt, guilt and embarrassment. If you have five minutes, have a look. I would recommend offering this leaflet to your clients.