A brother and sister have asked County Hall bosses to review how they deal with bereaved families after being sent a debt-chasing letter days after their mum’s death.
Kath Jebson, of Lytham, and her brother Jonathan Kay said they were “disgusted” to get the letter so soon after their mother Irene Kay passed away. Mrs Kay, of Longton, near Preston, had recently been receiving care for half an hour a day to assist her with washing and dressing.
The 88-year-old former charity volunteer died on May 20 in hospital and Jonathan informed the council on May 22.
He got a letter from the council dated May 23, before the funeral had been held, warning him of his potential liability for debts.
It is thought the outstanding bill for last month’s care will amount to around £120.
Kath said: “I don’t understand the reason for it at all.
It’s very insensitive and very upsetting at a time like this when people are very vulnerable
“It’s very insensitive and very upsetting at a time like this when people are very vulnerable. It’s very clinical and very cold.
“I don’t think there’s any need for this letter to be sent out at this stage.”
The letter from the Income Management Team offered condolences but also stressed: “If you are responsible for administering Irene Kay’s estate and you proceed to distribute the estate without paying the outstanding debt to the county council, you will be held personally liable for that debt.”
Derek Jackson, LCC head of exchequer services, said: “I offer my sincere condolences to the family.
“The last thing we would want to do is cause any further distress and I’m very sorry they have been upset.
“Where there are payments due, we write to the family at an early stage before estates are settled so that the person dealing with the estate is aware of the debt before the estate is distributed.
“We are sorry that in this case by doing so we have caused upset.
“Losing a loved one is very sad and our thoughts and sympathies are with Mr Kay and his family at this difficult time.”