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Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby peckerwood » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:31 am

I am named as the executor of a friends will. Died unexpectedly, His estate is straightworward and I am divvying it up to the beneficiaries, his adult children. Out of the blue I got a letter from the CSA demanding a sum of money 'to be made over to the Commission' and indicated I am personally liable if I do not. The liability dates back to 2001 and there is no evidence of communication since. I thought that such an old debt could not be revived after six years under section 9 of the Limitation Act. The CSA are behaving as if they are excluded from the Act but not saying what Parliamentary intention provides it, "seek legal advice". I spoke to a solicitor and she says the Limitation Act applies unless evidence to the contrary is shown. The CSA has not shown it they are rather evasive and obfuscous when I speak to them over the telephone. Has anyone had a similar experience and how did you deal with it?
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Re: Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby atticus » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:50 am

It will be necessary to consider the statute etc which gives rise to liability and to see what that says including about limitation of claims.

Is there any possibility of the liability being a continuous one, i.e. a liability that was actionable at the date of the deceased's death?
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Re: Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby dls » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:31 pm

Did you advertise for creditors?

Do not pay out a single penny - indeed caution those to whom anything has been paid that you may have been too generous.

Be _very_ cautious in your correspondence (no more chats) so as not to revive any claim. Some good professionals have been caught out by this.

It is for them to make out their claim. That means that they should give you the facts upon which their claim is based. It does not mean a duty to educate you as to the law. Limitation law is often disapplied in statutory claims.

Child support was often misrepresented as a way for mothers to receive support for their children from an absent parent. In practice I suspect that over 90% of what they could be bothered to collect went straight down the throat of the DHSS, and indeed commonly the DHSS received more in child support than the they paid to the mother for the child. It is and has been a milch cow for the state. I doubt that an arrangement so beneficial to the state will be easily caught by limitation.

You have his papers - go through them.

Good luck. Do not pay out until every duck is properly aligned and looking you straight back in the eye - but acknowledge that this might in fact happen.
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Re: Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby peckerwood » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:39 pm

i've asked all those but I get Seek Legal Advive.

I didnt advertise creditors apart from the statutory one. I think the CSA were told of the grant and got my name & address. Nothing in his papers after 2003. The CSA says they got a liability order in 2006 but the address is wrong. That explained why the CSA were funny about disclosing it. I just need thge CSA to say why the money is lawfully owed. There is evidence to the contrary.
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Re: Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby dls » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:00 am

So their liability order was obtained without an opportunity for the putative father to answer?

Normally a liability order would be conclusive, but since it was unopposed and without notice to the father it will carry little weight of itself.

The case may however have been an evidential slam dunk.

What evidence do you have of his residential history?
Was he paying PAYE? Did he pay self employed tax/NI? In either event, the explanation of why they did not chase is that they could not be arsed. That is usually death to any request fro discretion as to extension of limitation.

There is a distinction between them having enough evidence to have rebrought the proceedings had they found him and had he had a retrial, and their having to rely in any event upon the old judgment/liability order.

They _may_ be in substantial difficulties and about to write this off. Or they may not.

You pays your money (or not) and takes your choice.
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Re: Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby dls » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:05 am

Another issue for you to consider is whether the actual recipient of this money would or would not be his child.

His beneficiaries may be much more ready to accept taking second place to a child than to ever open gullet of the DSS.
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Re: Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby peckerwood » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:01 pm

I've got to the bottom of this. The CSA did an assessment in 1996 and it was questioned because the travel allowance to his (then) employment was wrong. He challenged it unsuccessfully with the CSA but he stopped work because he didn't have enough money to pay his travel cost and live on what was a then small income at that time. After a jobless spell, he got another job and did a change of circumstances and the assessment was then corrected as he no longer had a need to high travel allowances and he paid the CSA.

He met a woman and got another job closer to her. The CSA given a change of circumstances. The CSA refused to let him pay his new tenancy because it was too high, beyond his means, so they charged him maintenance on the basis he was still living at his old address under his previous tenancy.

He moved again 2001. A job opportunity overseas, well paid and notified the CSA, who replied with a 'no change' decision notice. That is the last he heard from the CSA directly. There is a 2003 dated photocopy (or faxed) bailiff notice with his correct name but a completely unknown UK address demanding child maintenance. The UK address is not even in his addressbook.

No liability order and it seems he was nonethewiser of it. I don't know how that stands with s.14 of the magistrates courts act. The CSA says there is a second liability order in 2008, but there is no evidence of it.

He came back to the UK in 2013, was unwell but nothing diagnosed at the time. Died 2015 from a spinal tumour leaving a will with me as executor and trustee.

After seeking advice from multiple sources, I cannot honour the CSA demand because they give no evidence the Limitation Act does not apply. I have to follow Parliament and it says the liability became unrecoverable after 6 years the course of action accrued.

I gave a wrong postcode in their data protection security check, and yet the continued to discuss the case with me. I think they were unaware data protection does not apply to the deceased. It was quite an experience dealing with these people. Even contradicting their own advice when they found it had become inconvenient.

The beneficiaries are the maintenance children named on his CSA paperwork, so it would appear the money demanded is not destined for them. The girls are adults now, affable, but their mother threatens to sue the estate. Quite acrimonious.
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Re: Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby atticus » Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:23 am

You should take steps to be sure of the applicable legislation and whether this disapplies s9 Limitation Act 1980 (or has that effect).

Remember thatas executor you have a potential personal liability.

What is more, limitation is a defence. It is for you to prove that it is available to this claim.
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Re: Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby peckerwood » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:05 pm

I think personal liability is limited to being negligent or fraudulent. I think I have done all the dilligence now. The CSA is unable to show Parliamentary intention that excludes them from s.9 and promounce a liability on me for failure to comply with a demand that does not comply with child support regulations or section 14. I have to act in the interests of the beneficiaries. Dealing with the CSA over the telephone and the suprise nature of their calls, I can see truth is not on their side.

I'll post back if the CSA decide to sue (or prosecute, as the case may be) and see what their case is. The estate has funds for legal representation, but recovering them following a successful defence is improbable. The cliamant is a government agency and there is of impartiality of the court when administrating cases where the government is a party, so I have to weigh up the cost versus concession.
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Re: Deceased estate, CSA and the Limitation Act

Postby dls » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:28 pm

You haven't got the logic of this right.

By all means ask them to explain why limitation does not apply, but it applies or not whether they explain it or not. If they do not give you an explanation, you must decide for yourself.

They are seeking not to chase CSA, but to have applied a liability order from the magistrates.
Do not assume for a second that the courts will be biased, but I will be suprised if the law is not set to catch you.

This is _not_ something to talk about over the phone at all. Doing so reduces your chances of getting an answer to virtually nil, but very substantially increases the chance of you putting your foot in it.
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