QUESTION TONY: I’ve Lost Both My Parents But The Bank Won’t Release Funeral Money
My mother died in April, then father became weak and tired.
His family doctor, who did not see him, prescribed antidepressants. He died suddenly in the hospital, ten weeks after Mom. They had been married for over 60 years.
Dad had told me there was money in his Barclays account to cover their funerals and any expenses.
Rejected: Barclays has not given a grieving daughter – who lost her mother and father within ten weeks – the money her father had saved for his funeral
I sent Barclays the deed of estate, father’s death certificate, and my birth and marriage certificates, along with a council tax return and a bank statement to prove my identification. They refused to release any money and said Dad had no active accounts.
It seems he didn’t have a chance to tell Barclays about Mama’s death, so when I told them he had passed away, they took his name off the joint account and put everything in Mama’s name.
When I explained the circumstances, Barclays demanded my passport or driver’s license as proof of identity.
I don’t have a passport and because of a heart condition I don’t drive. I have no benefits or pension book, nor a blue badge or gun license. I asked them to release the £5,000 funeral expenses, but they refused.
Dad read the Daily Mail every day and won a stock trading contest in the late 1980s.
He had tucked the page with his documents. I hope you can help, Tony. I know daddy would want you!
BW, High Wycombe, Bucks.
Tony Hazell replies: Why is Barclays so bad in bereavement and power of attorney cases?
A note in your letter summed up the persistent issues: “Their grief team has shown a total lack of compassion or understanding.”
Your father had £19,000 in his account. When I demanded action, you got immediate access to it. You have also received compensation of £200.
Barclays confirms that money should be made available for funeral expenses.
It says you didn’t submit an invoice but that was because they gave you misleading information.
The demand for photo ID was also nonsense.
I heard that the staff member you spoke to was unsure of the process, so referred you to the grief team. But you’re telling me the grief team misled you, too.
How is this possible? All staff dealing with customers should definitely be trained in the basics of dealing with bereaved families such as offering sympathy, compassion and understanding no matter how busy, inexperienced or lack of knowledge they may be.
A Barclays spokesperson said: ‘We have apologized to our customer for the level of service she experienced, which was not up to the high standards we strive for.’
Barclays says it has taken steps to streamline the grieving process and invest in additional training, as well as increasing the number of employees working on its grieving teams.
All I can say is that based on this evidence, Barclays, you should invest a lot more.
Missing marriage allowance
My brother in law called HMRC about the marriage allowance. He explained that his wife was incapacitated for work.
He was told to sign up online, but he doesn’t have a computer and doesn’t know how to use it.
I tried on his behalf, but came to the request for identification. My sister-in-law has no passport or other requested documents.
She is very ill, has dementia and cannot talk on the phone.
Tony Hazell replies: It infuriates me that so many organizations are trying to force people online.
Even for tech-savvy, computers get harder with age, and online communications can expose vulnerable people to fraud.
The marriage allowance – worth up to £252 this tax year – can be claimed when one partner is a base rate taxpayer and the other pays no tax – meaning taxable income of £12,570 or less.
After a shot, HMRC called your brother-in-law and helped him apply for the marriage allowance.
Although he is entitled to four years earlier allowance, he only had one because he was a higher rate taxpayer before that.
HMRC sent a check for £247 last year and has changed its tax code for this year.
I’m sorry to hear that your sister-in-law has passed away.
An HMRC spokesperson said: ‘We were happy to assist Mr C with his marriage allowance application. We offer our condolences on his loss.”
- Write to asktony@dailymail. 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 authorizing you to speak with Tony Hazell. Unfortunately, we cannot respond to individual letters. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take any responsibility for them. The Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for answers given
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