Always declare your inheritance
Another case of ambiguity after death raised its head in the press recently, when the daughter of a deceased woman was accused of using money left for the welfare of the her late mother’s cats for her own use, and failing to notify the authorities of the inheritance.
The deceased’s estate was valued at £136,000 after the sale of her home; the proceeds of which, she had stated, were to go towards the care of her 24 pet cats and kittens.
Her daughter stated that after debts and beneficiaries had been paid however, there was only £50,000 left, which she deposited in a bank account she named “Cats Account”, and used to keep the cats in the sort of lifestyle to which they had become accustomed, strenuously denying that she used any of the money on herself.
During this time, she gave no notification of her financial dealings to the Department of Work and Pensions or to her local council; feeling, she says, that the money was never hers so it didn’t matter.
She admits that the bank account was in her name and that she had continued to claim benefits, but insists that she was simply carrying out her late mother’s wishes and that she had not benefitted at all.
The case continues but the deceased mother would have been better advised to indicate in her Will, precisely how the money should be stored and released to maintain the care of her cats.