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

Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

    Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

    Structured Finance

    Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

    SQL Server Developer

    £500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

    C#.NET Developer

    £600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff