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Halifax pursuing me for my dead wifes debt


jendoc
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My wife died last summer 'intestate' and left no estate what-so-ever.

 

However she still owed a £4000 unsecured loan to the Halifax. I informed them she had died and sent them a copy of her death certificate, but now they are pressurising me for the money even though my wife was sole signatory to the loan..........Can someone please advise whether I am in fact now responsible for that loan even though I never signed a loan agreement in the fire place? and can they make me sell our marital home in order to pay it off as they keep mentioning 'Bankruptsy'.

 

Jendoc

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Did your wife have any assets that became your property at death? Was the marital home jointly owned?

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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Are the deeds joint, or were they joint? If so, why was there no estate?

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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I still have not got around to changing the ownership from 'Tenents in Common' status I think it is called, to my sole name at the land registry. A 'WILL' was never made, it was one of those things you want to talk about doing but we never did and then she died suddenly without leaving any instructions or indeed and money or valuabbles.

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Hi, jendoc.

 

 

 

Any debts become the liability of your wifes estate. If there were sufficient assets in your wifes estate to settle her debts then this would be done by the executors. Creditors may sometimes attempt to claim payment from a partner or relative of the deceased, particularly if they lived with them, but if the estate cannot settle the debts, partners or relatives are not obliged to do so.

 

There are several possible exceptions to this rule:

 

1. Debts for which someone had joint and several liability with the deceased.

 

2. A mortgage remains on a property even if this passes to a new owner by inheritance (although it may be paid off by an insurance policy at death).

 

3. Taking over tenancy from the deceased by succession, which may involve taking over rent arrears if these cannot be paid by the estate. A tenant by succession can lose their home if the arrears are not paid.

 

4. For married couples, there is joint liability for council tax. In the event of a spouses death, the surviving partner remains liable for any arrears.

 

 

If two people jointly enter into a credit agreement, they are both liable for the whole amount of the debt. This is known as 'joint and several liability'. For an agreement to be joint and several, it must be signed by all parties in the form required by the Consumer Credit Act. So, if you have not signed such an agreement, you are not liable for your partner's debts.

 

 

Regards.

 

Scott.

 
 

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Thank you very much for that advice......Your bottom paragraph has started to take a weight off my mind...It is much appreciated.

 

Kind Regards, Jendoc

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Jendoc, just to clarify my thoughts. I am not a lawyer/executor etc by any stretch. But what I cant understand is how she died leaving NO estate, but in fact left an asset (a share of a property). The creditors would have had a legitimate claim to retrieve their debt via this property I would have thought.

 

As I say, laymans point of view - just confuses me!

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Yes....I understand your point and I am uncertain about that myself! I just assumed that as we were married her half of the property becomes mine on death as long as it is registered legally with the land registry which i am in the process of doing at a cost of £40 plus a copy of her death cirtificate.

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Needless to say, I hope my doubts are wrong. But I would await further clarification before transferring property into your name etc.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Send off for a CCA to see if the debt is enforceable.

Her share does become yours, but depending how the share was proprtioned during her lifetime it could be an asset before passing to you.

 

You are not responsible for her detb and never will be but her estate amy be if that makes sense.

Consumer Health Forums - where you can discuss any health or relationship matters.

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Since the debt is not yours, Halifax have no business pursuing you for it. They will know this, but it is not unusual for these companies to attempt to collect in this manner - their greed knows no bounds.

 

I'd be inclined to write to them along these lines:

 

I refer to your letters dated (dates) (and telephone calls of (dates)). I do not acknowledge any debt to you. All communication must be in writing.

 

You are aware that my wife was the sole signatory to the above-referenced loan agreement, and that my wife died on (date). You have been provided with a copy of the death certificate.

 

I am advised that your persistent attempts to make me repay my late wife's loan are contrary to the Office of Fair Trading Guidance on Debt Collection, which considers pursuing a third party an unfair practice. Furthermore, your mentions of legal action to make me bankrupt when I am not responsible for the debt are a breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which states that threatening action that cannot legally be taken is aggressive and unfair practice.

 

For the avoidance of any doubt, I formally dispute that I owe any debt to Halifax. You are reminded that the OFT Guidance requires you to suspend all collection activity until the dispute is resolved.

 

You should consider this letter to be a formal complaint about your non-compliant practices. I require you to deal with it in accordance with your complaint procedure, a copy of which you should send to me by return. I look forward to hearing your proposals to resolve my complaint, and to compensate me for the considerable distress caused.

 

Yours etc.

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Thanks 'ScarletPimpernel' I appreciate your time in writing this template for me!......I shall forward this letter tommorrow.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Jendoc:)

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debt dies with the debtor, usually after a death family memebers may be chased for it, you just have to make them realise that its harrasment and will report them if they continue.

question everything!

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Debt doesnt die with the debtor if it can come out of the estate.

 

No-one yet has fully addressed the question of whether the creditor has a valid claim due to the asset of the marital home at the time of death.

 

I dont think anyone (other than the DCA :) ) are suggesting that the OP directly has liability for this debt. However, it does not yet seem to have been firmly established that the DCA do not have a claim against the property.

  • Haha 1

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Scarlet Pimpernels letter is good - they are not pursuing you as a 3rd party but as executor/beneficiary.

 

Details of the home ownership split here

 

Debts if you owned a home together

If you jointly owned your home and there's not enough money elsewhere in the estate to pay off the deceased person's debts, there is a chance that your home would have to be sold. Your options to avoid a sale depend on whether you owned it as 'tenants in common' or 'joint tenants'.

'Tenants in common'

In this case each of you owned a stated share of the property. The share belonging to the person who has died becomes part of their estate and goes to whoever is mentioned in their will. But if there are outstanding debts these must be paid first from that share. To avoid a sale of the home you and/or anyone due to inherit the second share will need to try and negotiate with those owed money ('creditors') and find the necessary money.

'Joint tenants'

In this case you owned the whole property together and the deceased person's share passes automatically to you.

 

But even though it's now in your estate, you can't ignore the debts. Creditors can apply for an 'Insolvency Administration Order' within five years of the death. This can have the effect of dividing the property in two and force a sale. So it's in your interest to try to come to an agreement with people who are owed money, and try to pay them yourself.

 

Information as to whether you own the property as 'tenants in common' or 'joint tenants' may be shown in the Transfer or Lease by which you acquired the property or in a Trust Deed or in a Will. In addition the land register may also provide a clue but Land Registry cannot advise you on which kind of ownership you have chosen.

 

What happens to debts when someone dies? : Directgov - Money, tax and benefits

Consumer Health Forums - where you can discuss any health or relationship matters.

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Good info Gizmo.

 

Unfortunately, appears to be bad news for the OP above, as he has stated that they were "tenants in common".

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Good info Gizmo.

 

Unfortunately, appears to be bad news for the OP above, as he has stated that they were "tenants in common".

 

Hi mr s we seem to be in th same places tonight :)

 

I really think heshould apply for the CCA and see what that throws up, as halifax would look pretty silly trying to enforce a flawed agreeemnt in this case.

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We really do!!!

 

But yes, he now needs to question all the standard - just a shame that it wasnt an absolute out if you know what I mean.

 

One of those times I am disappointed to be right with questioning the estate of the marital asset :(

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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But yes, he now needs to question all the standard - just a shame that it wasnt an absolute out if you know what I mean.

 

Yes - it is a shame it isn't simple - but in the case of my father Nat West & Halifax backed off from some pretty hefty debts after I requested cca as executor.

Consumer Health Forums - where you can discuss any health or relationship matters.

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