You and the Law – 28th September 2010

Hemmed In

My elderly parents have recently made a will, but I’ve been told by friends
that I am unlikely to see any of their money because of debts hanging over
me, such as a mortgage repossession, loan arrears and credit card debts.

They say these organisations would grab their chunk first, and there’d be
nothing left for me.  Is this correct?  NS

They would only be able to take your inheritance away from you if you are a
declared bankrupt.  If you came into money, or it looked as if you were
about to come into money, during the period of your bankruptcy, the
trustee-in-bankruptcy would be able to intercept it to pay off your debts.

Your parents may want to redraft their will, at least temporarily.  Probably
the best arrangement will be for your parents’ estates to pass into
Discretionary Trust, it will then be a matter of the trustees of that trust
waiting until your position is more financially secure before distributing
your inheritance to you.

Loose threads

I was involved in a small business partnership.  We had a bank credit card
which was used for buying fuel and so on, on which the balance was cleared every month.  In the last two months before the partnership was wound up we spent £600, but the bank sent us statements showing this had been paid, and the accounts were finalised accordingly. 

However, the bank has now written to us saying there was an error and the money is still outstanding.  What is my position?  MD

If the bank gives you incorrect advice in this case in the form of your
statements, and you are worse off as a result, you may have a defence
against the bank’s claim for payment.  On this basis, because it might cost you money in accountant’s fees for instance to redraft your accounts, you could certainly negotiate to pay less than the £600.

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