My mum died in April, then Dad became weak and tired.
His GP, who didn’t see him, prescribed antidepressants. He died suddenly in hospital, ten weeks after Mum. They had been married for more than 60 years.
Dad had told me there was money in his Barclays account to cover their funerals and any expenses.
Denied: Barclays failed to provide a grieving daughter – who lost her mother and father within the space of ten weeks – with the money her father had saved for his funeral
I sent Barclays the grant of probate, Dad’s death certificate and my birth and marriage certificates, along with a council tax bill and bank statement to prove my identification. They refused to release any money and said that Dad had no active accounts.
It seems he hadn’t had a chance to tell Barclays of Mum’s death, so when I informed them he had died they took his name off the joint account and put everything in Mum’s name.
When I explained the circumstances, Barclays demanded my passport or driving licence as proof of ID.
I don’t have a passport and, owing to a heart condition, I don’t drive. I have no benefits or pension book, nor blue badge or gun licence. I asked them to release the £5,000 funeral costs but they refused.
Dad read the Daily Mail every day and won a competition about share dealing in the late 1980s.
He had kept the page tucked away with his documents. I hope you can help, Tony. I know Dad would be willing you on!
B.W., High Wycombe, Bucks.
Tony Hazell replies: Why does Barclays so often mis- handle bereavement and power of attorney cases?
One comment in your letter summed up its persistent problems: ‘Their bereavement team has shown a total lack of compassion or understanding.’
Your dad had £19,000 in his account. When I demanded action, you were immediately given access to it. You have also been paid £200 compensation.
Barclays confirms money for funeral expenses should be released.
It says you did not submit an invoice but that was because they had given you misleading information.
The demand for photo identification was also a load of baloney.
I’m told the staff member you spoke to was uncertain of the process so referred you to the bereavement team. But you tell me the bereavement team also misled you.
How can this be? Surely all customer-facing staff should be trained in the basics of dealing with bereaved customers, such as offering sympathy, compassion and understanding no matter how busy, inexperienced or lacking in knowledge they may be.
A Barclays spokesman says: ‘We have apologised to our customer for the level of service she experienced, which fell short of the high standards we strive for.’
Barclays says it has taken steps to streamline the bereavement service and invested in additional training, as well as increasing the numbers working in its bereavement teams.
All I can say is that on this evidence, Barclays, you need to invest much more.
Missing marriage allowance
My brother-in-law phoned HMRC about the marriage allowance. He explained that his wife was incapacitated.
He was told he must apply online but he does not own a computer nor know how to use one.
I tried on his behalf but got as far as the request for identification. My sister-in-law does not have a passport or other documents requested.
She is very sick, has dementia and is unable to speak on the phone.
H. C., Oxford.
Tony Hazell replies: It infuriates me that so many organisations are attempting to force people online.
Even for the tech savvy, computers become more difficult with age and online communication can expose vulnerable people to fraud.
The marriage allowance — worth up to £252 this tax year — can be claimed where one partner is a basic-rate taxpayer and the other does not pay tax — which would mean a taxable income of £12,570 or less.
After a prod, HMRC phoned your brother-in-law and helped him to apply for the marriage allowance.
Although it is possible to claim four years’ previous allowance, he was only entitled to one because, before this, he was a higher-rate taxpayer.
HMRC has sent a cheque for £247 for last year and has adjusted his tax code for this year.
I was sorry to hear that your sister-in-law has since died.
An HMRC spokesman says: ‘We were happy to assist Mr C with his marriage allowance claim. We offer our condolences on his loss.’
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