£8,000 pension bill for grieving Bentilee sisters
GRIEVING sisters are being asked to repay £8,000 by the Department of Work and Pensions – which was owed by their mother who died two years ago.
When Hilda Trethaway, of Ubberley Road, died on November 22, 2010, aged 83, she had life savings of about £16,000 in an ISA account.
That was partly used to pay for her funeral, and the rest was split between her five surviving children and 10 grandchildren.
Around eight months later, her daughter Wendy Turner, who was named as executor of the will, received a bill from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for £6,500.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
That debt, based on pensions Mrs Trethaway had failed to declare, was later amended to £8,000.
The family took the matter to a tribunal earlier this year, but were told they must pay.
Now Mrs Turner and her sisters Jennifer Trethaway and Karen Gratton are sharing the debt, which they say they were not aware of – and if they had been told about earlier, could have been settled from their mother's estate.
Jennifer, aged 53, of Canary Road, Bentilee, said: "When mum died we had to go to probate to get the ISA. We had her bills to pay and the funeral itself, which cost £3,500.
"Mum always said that there was money to pay for her funeral and whatever was left she wanted us to have.
"We loved our mum to bits and she had always wanted a horse and carriage at her funeral. We wanted to give her a really good send off.
"Then, about eight months later, we started getting letters from the DWP, saying mum had been overpaid by £6,500.
"We disputed it, but then the next thing the DWP came back with a figure of £8,000.
"Our dad, John Trethaway, died when I was 16 years old and mum had a pension from British Rail, where he worked.
"She also had a top-up pension which she didn't declare. None of us knew anything about it.
"Mum scrimped and saved all her life. She had not got a penny when dad died, but she had six kids to bring up.
"We are not disputing that she didn't owe the money, but why should we have to pay it?
"If we had known about it 12 months earlier, we could have done something about it.
"Only Wendy is liable to pay, because she is the executor of the will, but Karen and I have said we will help too.
"Mum would be turning in her grave to see this. She loved us and she wanted us to have a little bit of something when she died, not a load of debt."
Karen, aged 49, of Dawlish Drive, Bentilee, said: "Mum wouldn't have deliberately not declared anything. She was not that kind of person.
"She worked hard all her life as a care assistant. She was still working at the age of 70.
"This is causing big problems for us and it is something people should be aware of."
The DWP was unavailable for comment.