NOBODY expects to get a letter telling them the authorities think they are dead.
But that’s what greeted 79-year-old Shirley Featherstone when she checked her mail earlier this week.
The Gosport pensioner said she was shocked to find the letter from HM Revenue & Customs asking her family about their ‘dead’ mother’s estate.
Mrs Featherstone said: ‘At first I thought it was about my husband, but he passed away nine years ago.
‘It said, speaking to my family “We are very sorry to hear of your recent bereavement”.
‘They wanted to know if my next-of-kin had paid them the right tax from my estate.
‘I was angry and very upset.
‘How have they got this information that I am dead?
‘I’m fortunate that at my age I’m a strong person, but if it went to a person with a weak heart or something you never know what could have happened.’
Worried at the thought her pension might be cut off, Mrs Featherstone tried to call HMRC to tell them of the mistake.
‘When I rang them up the phone said “press one for this and press two for that”, but there was no number to let them know that I’m still alive,’ she said.
Mrs Featherstone said she got a letter with a new tax code the next day, which made her even more confused.
‘One minute they think I’m dead and the next they are sending me a new tax code, it just doesn’t make any sense.’
An HMRC spokeswoman said she was sorry to hear about the letter and apologised to Mrs Featherstone.
The spokeswoman told The News: ‘We are very sorry to learn of the upset caused to your reader and her family, and we apologise to them all for any distress.
‘We are unable to discuss individual cases, but will investigate what has happened and the lady will be contacted.’