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Liability for Council Tax

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Suehol | 10:54 Sat 19th Mar 2011 | Law
7 Answers
My father passed away in 2009 and we settled his final Council Tax bill that year.
My brother and myself inherited the estate and we thought all matters had been dealt with early in 2010.
I have suddenly received a bill for £135 for unpaid council tax for my father and the council stated this was due to an error which happened in 2008.
Obviously I can not confirm this with my father and my brother or myself knows nothing about this.
My father had been paying his council tax bills by direct debit for years to my knowledge.
Are we now obliged to pay?

Sue

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Were you the executor?
Have the council said it was definitely their error or was it due to an error on your father's part?
The estate will be liable if the amount is correct (and it probably will be) but if you write to teh council and say you have no knowledge/no money/or your solicitor wants a full breakdown and letter of explanation , then they might back down
Sue / Factor 30

I think the estate will be liable to pay but the problem would be if the estate had been distributed to several people.
I think as there were only 2 beneficiary's it should be simple to recover the money but I am not sure what your position will be if your brother will not pay his share.
Was any inheritance tax paid?. If this has happened in theory 40% should bec recovered from the taxman.

Amy
Hi Amy- the reason I asked who was the executor is that I think it's the executor's responsibility to ensure all debts of the estate are paid and the net estate is distributed in accordance with the will.
Anyway, in the circumstances if the council agreed a final settelemnt in 2010 and has now discovered money is due from 2008, I think the council may write the debt off if the executor presses for that.
But if you can afford the money maybe for peace of mind you should just agree to pay it between you.
Hi Factor 30

I was only giving advice which Suehol asked for and nothing to do with the estate. I would ask the council how this error happened and ask them to provide a statement.
The problem with this sort of amount is how far do you want to take it possibly running up legal costs.

Amy
Hi Amy- I had in mind your words "...but I am not sure what your position will be if your brother will not pay his share"
I think it would be the executor's problem.
But it may not be an issue
I know nothing legally about this but I would definitely go along the lines of asking for a full breakdown of the costs. I would want them to prove that you are responsible for paying the debt and certainly wouldnt just pay it.
The executor(s) of the estate are liable for the payment - unless they advertised for creditors when winding up the estate, when the beneficiaries are liable.

It being a mistake is neither here nor there - other than it may be an idea to get double confirmation that it's due. They might write it off if you create enough fuss but are under no obligation to do so.

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