Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Bureaucracy or The Right Hand Doesn't Know What The Left Hand's Doing

My husband had occasion to seek advice from HM Revenue and Customs this morning.  He phoned the help desk and explained the problem, viz, his late mother’s estate (she died in March this year) was being handled by his brother who died suddenly on Saturday. Probate had been granted but administration of the estate had not been completed. Barry’s sister-in-law told Barry she had been informed she would have to take over probate.

The help desk told Barry that was nonsense and he, as next of kin, would be responsible and he should apply for a second grant of probate. Barry then checked with Winchester, the office that granted probate, and was told that his sister-in-law would definitely be responsible for probate, along with her deceased husband’s estate.

Barry checked with the help desk again and the man he spoke to consulted three of his senior colleagues who insisted that their advice was right. A further phone call to Winchester resulted in three managers confirming that the advice they were giving was accurate. Back to the help desk who maintained their position but advised him to get legal advice (!!) but also said that as Winchester was responsible for granting probate he’d better accept their advice as they would be dealing with it.

Everyone Barry spoke to was helpful and polite but why was there so much disagreement between them? Finally, Barry phoned the principal Registry in London and The Winchester office’s advice was confirmed as correct.    

Fortunately, Barry and his sister-in-law get on well together and there is no conflict of interest or argument about the disposal of his late mother’s estate.

Help desks should help, not confuse. There needs to be clarification in training so that all parties are giving the same advice.

                                                                                               

16 comments:

  1. ... and very often the left hand doesn't know whether it's doing it or not!

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  2. It’s probably a slightly unusual problem, not something the admin bods come across very often.

    As you say, it’s a good thing your husband and the widow get on well. If a lawyer had to be involved there’d be nothing left of the estate by the time they’d get done.

    By the way, my sympathies to the bereaved. To lose mother and brother in so short a space of time must be very sad.

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  3. Unfortunately, it sounds like "government type" problems we all run into from time to time and they do make one wonder about the efficiency of those departments. It is indeed sad to lose two family members so close together. My sympathies to the bereaved as well.

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  4. This situation is incredible. Doesn't surprise me though. Ha, if government people can't deal with these 'minor' problems (comparatively), it is no wonder they can't deal with the larger issues of diplomacy, lawmaking, etc. So often the blind lead the blind lead the blind.

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  5. I'm sure the last thing his poor sister in law needs right now is more admin! What a muddle. Good job everyone gets on well, and I'm sure they will sort it all out in the end.

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  6. My condolences and sympathies to those bereaved - hope it all gets sorted out relatively quickly.

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  7. Not surprising, would happen here too ! When it comes to administration and legal things ! For 38 years my name was the same as Mr. G's. When I applied for a new passport, they suddenly realized that I had the wrong name, because I should have kept my maiden name as it was the law in Italy ! So now on all official papers passport included, I have my maiden name again ! Crazy isn't it ?

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  8. The "help" desk seems like a bit of a misnomer. Sorry to hear you've had two deaths in the family and, in addition, are forced to deal with so much confusion.

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  9. Oh yes am having a similar battle at present. Drives me crazy

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  10. Hi Janice - I'm pleased your SIL and Barry get on and can sort the thing - especially as she must be devastated by the death of her husband.

    It's always so difficult getting correct information ..

    I hope there's no other hassles - sounds a challenging time for one and all .. Barry and his brother's death too ..

    With thoughts - Hilary

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  11. Wow. What a tale of frustration! I bet your hubby was ready to pull his hair out. You hit the nail on the head, too--training is a big part of the issue, certainly. It sounds as if the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Glad y'all got it worked out, though.

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  12. Such possible conflict! My brother handled my mother's estate. I was so grateful.

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  13. Bureaucracratic red tape has tied up many hands. Sorry for yur loss.

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  14. How awful, and with one bereavement following so soon after the other. Hope it gets sorted out soon.

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  15. I am sorry to hear about your brother in law Janice. The lack of communication and inefficiency don't surprise me. Sad but true.

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