Grieving partner left penniless and homeless

A penniless Warwick man was '˜at his wits' end' after waiting for over a month for several thousands owed to him after his partner's death.

Monday, 20th June 2016, 12:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:16 pm
Jose Manuel Garcia with his late partner Melanie Field

Jose Manuel Garcia, originally from Spain but a Warwick resident for the past six-and-a-half years, was left devastated after his partner, Melanie Field, passed away on Monday May 9.

Melanie had a pension with insurance company Aviva, the money in which should have been passed onto Jose after her death. He had very little money after caring for Melanie and her late mother and stepfather over the past four years.

But despite Aviva claiming they were sorting his money out, Jose only received the it on Wednesday this week.

To compound his problems, Jose was evicted from Melanie’s council house in Byron Avenue on Wednesday June 1, just two days before her funeral. He became desperate for Aviva to settle up.

Jose said: “Aviva played with my money and with my mind. I was at my wits’ end.”

He was taken in by his friends Julie Loveridge and her partner Rob, who feared for Jose’s mental wellbeing.

Julie said: “If he didn’t have anyone else I don’t know what would have happened to him. He had no money and no home to go to.”

Jose and Melanie’s financial advisor Nick Edwards, of Edwards Sumner and Fogg, was dealing with Melanie’s pension after her death, and had recommended Aviva because he had never had a problem with using them in the past.

He called them several times asking if the money had been paid into Jose’s bank account.

Nick said: “This ran on and on and it was getting close to the funeral date. Aviva then contacted the funeral director and agreed to pay for the funeral costs.

“They told me they were doing it out of the pension funds.

“I didn’t understand why they couldn’t do the same thing by paying the rest of the money to Jose.”

“I’ve never had a problem with Aviva before - this whole situation was a nonsense. I’m despondent because I thought they would get things sorted.”

In a statement, a spokesman for Aviva said: “Aviva takes the security and wishes of all customers very seriously. When a customer dies, it’s important to make sure that the funds are passed on to the correct beneficiary as quickly as possible.

“This can take time to process as we must be clear that the funds will reach the right beneficiary.

“All insurance companies are also bound by reporting rules set by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which govern the dates on which payments can be made to beneficiaries.

“In this instance, we dealt with the claim as soon as we had received all of the documents showing who the money was to be paid to, and received instruction to make a payment.

“We processed the funds on June 8 but the beneficiary did not receive them until June 15 because that is the first date they can be received under HMRC rules. This is a process that all companies must follow when paying funds from pension income.

“We understand that the beneficiary had concerns over paying for the funeral of their partner. We are able to settle funeral director invoices once we have received the death certificate.”