Claiming repayment from estate

Dear All

Our client was married and hospitalised for 1 year, during this year his wife paid the water bill which was in the Deceased’s sole name.

Now he has passed away, she wishes to reclaim that money.

Is she able to?


Presumably the residuary estate does not pass to the wife, or she would not seek to reclaim the “water bill”, although if so could she not claim considerably more under the Inheritance (PFD) Act?
However, why did she choose to pay this, irrespective of the name on the account? What about other property outgoings such as rent/mortgage payments, council tax, electricity/gas accounts, insurance premiums, maintenance? It might be that some of these are the personal responsibility of the occupier [such as council tax] whilst others such as energy bills could be properly chargeable to the user. But on what terms did she occupy [if she did] the property concerned?
Conversely, if she owned the property and was sole occupier for the period concerned, I suspect that whilst the water account may have been in his name, and so the contractual responsibility of him/his estate, she would be responsible to reimburse him …