Consumer Rights: 'My mum's bosses won't release her final pay packet'

A bereaved child must gather evidence he's entitled to his mother's wage and employing a tenant

Q: My mother died recently and I sorted out her very small estate. There was no will, my father is dead and I don't have any siblings. She had less than £5,000 in her bank account, so after I'd paid her bills I closed it and was given the remaining money being her next of kin. All I needed was the death certificate.

All was fine until I realised she had some wages owing to her. But her company won't pay. The HR department says their rules only allow them to pay directly into her account, and they can't pay me. It's not a huge sum but it would help as I've had quite a bit of unexpected expense as a result of her death. I can't reopen the account, so what am I to do?

DJ, Exeter

A: This seems unnecessarily bureaucratic and rather insensitive. There is no legal reason why the company can't pay you, so it's own internal rules must be the stumbling block.

It's likely they require someone to see documentary proof that you are the person authorised to deal with your mother's estate. This includes the authority to collect any outstanding money. A Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration (Grant of Confirmation in Scotland) is usually required before you can sort out someone's estate unless it's small.

A Grant of Probate is given by the Probate Registry (Sheriff's Court in Scotland) to the executor or executors of a will. Where there's no will, the next of kin or someone else close to the deceased can apply to the Probate Registry for Letters of Administration instead. These give you the authority to deal with the dead person's assets or estate – any money, property or other possessions. You can also use them to prove to anyone who asks for proof that you have that authority.

Where there is no will, there are very clear rules about who should inherit from the estate, how much and in what order family members inherit. In your case, because the amounts are small and it sounds like you are her closest relative, it would all go to you after bills and debts are cleared. There's more information at direct.gov.uk

If the employer won't play ball, clarify exactly what they do need in terms of documentation. You will have to apply to your nearest Probate Registry for the Letters of Administration.

If you get stuck or the employer is still unhelpful, ask someone at your nearest free advice centre such as the Citizens Advice Bureau to help. You don't want to spend too much money on legal advice when the amount outstanding is so small.

***

Q: I am on the board of an organisation that wants, coincidentally, to employ someone who is a tenant in one of our flats. The work is not related to the property. The managing director has been told if we give her the job, we will have to pay her wages and rent. I have done some research and I think we only have to pay the National Minimum Wage (unless we want to be more generous).

I can't see why it should cost more to employ someone who happens to live in a flat that the prospective employer owns. The MD thinks I'm wrong?

WS, Newcastle

A: If an employer and employee agree to a contract which says wages will be paid at a certain rate with some rent covered, that's up to them. Otherwise, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) applies. Under that legislation, and what I think your MD is referring to, there is an "accommodation offset".

If an employer provides a home, he can only count some of its value towards pay. This is called the accommodation offset. The employer can't count more than the accommodation offset rate that is in force – currently £4.73 a day. I called the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368 for clarification. The adviser said that as soon as landlord becomes employer the offset applies so, in effect, you would only be able to charge the £33.11 a week rent.

While you would lose rent by hiring a tenant, I'm sure you will want the best person for the job.

www.moneyagonyaunt.com

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

    £20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

    Team Secretary - (Client Development/Sales Team) - Wimbledon

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...

    Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

    Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

    Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

    £600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices