A widowed mother who was in financial distress has told how she managed to reclaim £35,000 in PPI owed to her late husband after sending off MoneySavingExpert's PPI reclaim template letter.

Anna (not her real name – she asked not to be identified) says the stunning reclaim success means she and her teenage children can now afford to stay in the family home they'd been on the verge of selling.

She told us she reads our weekly email every week and added: "I would never have known how to make this claim or had the confidence to do so without the advice on the website".

See our Reclaim PPI for Free guide for how to do it and free template letters to help. As the guide explains, any money owed to a deceased person becomes part of their estate, and the person who inherits it is entitled to the reclaim.

£35,000 reclaim success

After losing her husband in May 2015, Anna says she struggled with grief for months and was unable to afford the mortgage on the family home. Then, on eventually going through her husband's paperwork, she found an incomplete and non-consecutive set of old loan statements.

While she wasn't sure what they showed, she remembered reading about PPI reclaiming on MoneySavingExpert.com and suspected some of the payments listed could be PPI premiums her husband had paid.

"I gathered together all the statements I could find, copied them, downloaded the template PPI reclaim letter from MoneySavingExpert and sent it all off," she says.

Beneficial Finance, the loan company on the paperwork, no longer exists, but Anna searched on Google and learned it had been part of the HSBC group. She wrote to HSBC and about six weeks later it wrote back asking her to complete a detailed questionnaire about the claim. But because her husband had taken out the PPI, she couldn't answer most of the questions.

"I simply sat on the questionnaire for a few weeks thinking that I would have to use a PPI company to help me," she said.

Suddenly another letter arrived from HSBC saying her claim had been upheld, and Anna was owed £35,000 in repaid PPI premiums and added interest. Anna didn't even need to complete the questionnaire to receive the money – it landed in her account a few weeks later.

Anna says the reclaim success couldn't have come at a better time, as she'd been about to sell the family home after her bank refused to renegotiate her mortgage terms.

"This changed everything for my children and I, as I had just reluctantly accepted a low offer on our house and we were due to exchange contracts within the week, so the timing couldn't have been better," she says. "We have been able to make a lump sum payment on our mortgage and now the mortgage company are prepared to reduce my monthly repayments, meaning we can afford to stay in our house."

'I reclaimed £35,000 owed to my late husband using MSE's PPI guide'
PPI compensation can form part of a deceased person's estate, with their heirs able to claim it

How to reclaim PPI on behalf of a deceased relative

If going through a relative's paperwork after they've died, it's always a good idea to check if they paid PPI which could be reclaimed by the beneficiaries of their estate.

If a PPI policyholder has died, any money owed becomes part of their estate, so the person who inherits is entitled to reclaim, though let the executor – the person appointed to carry out the wishes expressed in the will – know too. If there's no will, the right to reclaim follows the rules of 'intestacy' – see the Gov.uk website for more info. It's worth noting though there may be problems proving what happened at the time of the sale of the PPI if only the policyholder was present.

Never pay a claims company to reclaim PPI you're owed, or you could lose a large chunk of your compensation in fees. See the PPI Reclaim guide for full help on how to do it for free.

Is this MSE's biggest-ever PPI success?

Surprisingly, it isn't – in fact, it's not even close. In 2012 MSE reported how a father from Essex received an astonishing £82,000 for mis-sold PPI.

HSBC wouldn't tell us the biggest compensation it had paid out, as the bank doesn't comment on individual cases, but a spokesperson says: "Where it's clear PPI has been mis-sold, HSBC will always redress customers ensuring they are put back into the position they would have been in should PPI have never been taken".

The spokesperson adds: "While we do not comment on individual complaint cases, HSBC will expedite and prioritise complaints where the complainant may be subject to financial difficulty or other forms of vulnerability".