Barclays’ lack of communication made things worse after the death of my mother

My mother died recently and a substantial sum was wired from her estate in the Caribbean to my Barclays account. A month later it has yet to arrive.

My local branch has tried to be helpful but feels it can do no more and over a week after posting a written complaint, it’s still not been handed to an investigative team.

I am finding this all very stressfulMy daughter took her life six years ago, partly due to debt, and the lack of communication has made the situation even worse.

PM, Penrith, Cumbria

Whizzy new technology has led us to expect funds to move from one account to another almost instantly.

Payments within the UK usually do, but overseas transactions, where intermediary banks liaise between the sending and recipient banks, can take weeks, if not months. Anti-money-laundering rules are one reason for delay, and less developed financial infrastructure in some parts of the world another.

In your case, Barclays discovered that the intermediary bank tasked with transferring the funds from your parents’ bank to Barclays lacked funds to complete the transaction. Why, as the full sum was apparently wired, and why you were not told beforehand, is unclear.

The money was eventually returned to the sending bank from where it was wired a second time.

Another week passed before it reached you, although media interest encouraged Barclays to keep you better informed this time.

If you need help email Anna Tims at or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number.