MY mum died. As I am the oldest I was named her next of kin and because my brother did not want the funeral bill in his name. It turns up my mother had paid too much council tax over the last couple of years. I phoned the council who said my brother told them not to discuss it with me.

Could you tell me where I stand? I have still £600 to pay to the funeral bill and took a £500 loan to pay for other things.

YOU have the right to be appointed executor of the estate, to ingather any money due to your late mother, and to use it to pay debts. If your brother gets the money before you can get the court appointment (if it is a small estate the sheriff court officials will help you with the forms) you can sue to get it back from him as the money belongs to the estate as a whole, to be used firstly for debts, and only then divided up if anything is left.

I RUN a small business and lease an office in an office block. The factors are not good at doing repairs and seem to bill us very highly every six months with nothing much to show for the cost. Can we get together with the other tenants and sack them?

Probably not. You are only a tenant, and your lease will almost certainly not contain powers to vote in any factor’s meeting as it would the owner – your landlord . Best you can do is relay your worries to your landlord and hope he/she/they will act. But as they are not paying the common charges, they might be less than enthusiastic to help. Commercial leases have the tenant liable for all maintenance but with little or no power to control events.

I BOUGHT my 4 in a block flat 10 years ago and at that time my bank who provided me with my mortgage and said I would have to insure my property through the factors.

This I was told was because one of the 4 flats was still a council property. I would like to get insurance with another company which seems to be cheaper and better conditions than the social landlord policies I have got.

Can I shop around for better deals or am i in fact tied to the factors?

CHECK your title deeds. For ex local authority properties there is usually a condition that the insurance is arranged centrally.

But there may also be provision for the owners of a certain number of units to get together and vote the factors out which would allow you to make your own insurance arrangements.

If one of the properties is indeed still under local or social ownership, then it is almost certain that they have the casting vote on block insurance.

I TOOK out a loan to be repaid over 5 years by monthly instalments. I have now been diagnosed with cancer and the prognosis is not good. When I actually die, what happens to the debt.

Surely my children don’t have to take it over? My estate won’t be enough to pay the balance unless I live for a fair bit longer.

The debt will not transfer to your children. If there is insufficient money in your estate and there is a debit balance left, the bank will simply have to write the remainder of the loan off.