I havent got any sleep for weeks since the Lloyds TSB is chasing me.
The story goes as following (pardon my broken English, I live in eastern parts of EU):
About 5 months ago a close relative of mine died.
I was the sole inheritor of her property,
consisting of an apartment and several loans.
I have taken care of 2 out of 3 debts.
The third one is Lloyds TSB and the sum is 3000 GBP.
Since one of those 3 loans pretty much crippled me financially (I am still quite young) and the apartment is, well, everything I have!
Lloyds got my address through solicitor, who took care of the inheritance process.
By the local law inheritance goes as following by my best understanding:
Inheritor notices the solicitor
-> solicitor notifies all the local banks to get information about outstanding debts and assets,
as well as gathers other information about assets.
(this is the part where I did wrong - to my knowledge,
she had some assets held by Lloyds so I listed it down and solicitor contacted them about me being the benefactor)
-> 30 days is given for other relatives to claim their part of the inheritance, if they have any legal reason to get anything.
-> benefactor is notified about the debts and assets and the case is closed if there is no dispute.
The benefactor is obliged to cover all debts marked up in the documents then received, as well as any new ones that surface within a year.
About a month after receiving the mentioned paperwork, I got a formal letter from Lloyds,
claiming that my relative had a debt (suspiciously round amount?) with them
and I should notify them if there are sufficient funds left from the estate to cover it.
Well, there is the apartment but selling that would mean me being homeless, since the market value is quite low and I can not afford a rental.
Enclosed was also a quite massive form, called the Assets and Liabilities Form,
that demanded quite a lot of sensitive information, including bank acc. numbers of the deceaseds' other bank accounts,
list of valuables, contact information of other benefactors and so on.
I decided to ignore that letter,
about 3 months have passed and I received another letter, this time in a more discrete envelope.
The letter again asks me to confirm if there are sufficient funds blah blah
and they can not drop the account until I have returned completed assets and liabilities form,
which, as stated on the form itself in veeeery fine print, is pretty much a legally binding contract
- if I fail to inform the bank accurately about ALL the assets the deceased had and the bank finds out,
I have agreed that the bank should take legal action against me.
quoth the letter:
We would remind you that if the late XXXXXX had any assets then there is a legal requirement for outstanding debts to be settled before monies are paid to family or friends.
To sum things up:
I am certainly unable to pay that 3000 quid.
I would like to avoid responding to them. That would be the last line of defence for me.
Making the inventory of the deceaseds' assets can be only handled by a solicitor and before the inheritance is finalized.
Furthermore, asking about bank details should be a violation of information protection laws in my opinion.
But telling them that could mean that the debt could be handled by local inheritance law, meaning that I most certainly must pay it.
The latter letter seemed quite computer generated. Signed by Mrs. XXXXX, Centre Manager. Scare tactic?
The deceased was not UK national, neither am I.
Long story short, how long would the ignoring tactic hold and how much chance could I actually stand avoiding that debt? I am quite scared here, I just started independent life.
Any help is appreciated!