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Responsibility of debt re-payment on a spouse death.


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Hi,

 

My mother in law past away yesterday. After her death my wife came to know that her mother was in debt. some thing she never discussed with my wife. Now we are concerned about her debt and the effect it will have on my father in law. As my mother in law always dealt with all money related issues, my father in law is not sure exactly how much debt she was in and with whom.

Our biggest concern at this moment his there house. Both my parents in law were pensioners.

 

I wonder if some one could guide me where should i start first, will my father in law will be liable for his wife's debt?

Will he lose his house if he is unable to pay back?

Does he have any rights as he is a retired pensioner.

 

I do know that they were refused IVA or IVF (not sure which is correct) due to there age.

 

Much appreciate any ones help.

 

Thanks

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Thread moved to the debt collection forum.

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In general, it is the estate of the deceased that is responsible for any debts; if there is no estate (in other words, if your mother in law left nothing of value), then there are no funds and the creditors will have to lump it; it sounds as if this may be the case. Some creditors will try to get you to run around getting death certificates and so on; apart from one for the bank and local authority, always put the onus on the creditor to get these.

 

Where the deceased has left a will, and a creditor makes contact:

 

Dear Sirs

 

I refer to your letter of (date) and must advise you that Mrs XXXXX died on (date).

 

The executors are XXXXXX and XXXXXX who can be contacted at (address).

 

If you require a copy of the death certificate, this can be obtained from (name of Register Office where death was registered) upon payment of the statutory fee.

 

Yours etc.

 

Where there is no will:

 

Dear Sirs

 

I refer to your letter of (date) and must advise you that Mrs XXXXX died on (date).

 

Mrs XXXXX died intestate and I have to inform you that there are no funds in the estate to meet your demand.

 

If you require a copy of the death certificate, this can be obtained from (name of Register Office where death was registered) upon payment of the statutory fee.

 

I regret that I am unable to assist you further.

 

Yours etc.

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I think the problem here is that there is the family house

 

would it not depend on whether the debts are secured or not, re the house?

PGH7447

 

 

Getting There Slowly

---------

 

Advice is given freely but is in no way meant to be taken as Gospel:-)

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Hi,

 

Thanks for all your replies.

 

Our main concern at the moment is the family house, there is no mortgage on the house and we are afraid that creditors might force my father in law to sell the house in order to pay off my mother in law's debts.

 

A friend of mine suggested to obtain credit report, but i am not sure if you can access credit report for a person who died??

 

And my mother in Law did not leave a will behind, does that make any difference.

 

Thanks

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I would have thought that creditors could, if they were so minded, go for a Charging Order to recover their debt. Equally they could decide to write off

the amount. It may all boil down to whom the money was owed

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Hi,

 

A friend of mine suggested to obtain credit report, but i am not sure if you can access credit report for a person who died??

 

And my mother in Law did not leave a will behind, does that make any difference.

 

Thanks

 

Normally, I guess the Executor of the Will would be able to access the credit report. It is likely therefore that an approach by your Father in Law as next of kin would probably be dealt with

sympathetically since it is in the interests of their clients that outstanding debts are repaid. He would probably have to include a photocopy of the Death Certificate.

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It may depend on how much the debts total, but for smallish amounts I would think it highly unlikely that a Court would force your Father in Law out of his house. More likely would

be that a Charging Order be placed on the House which would be claimed from your Father in Laws estate at a later date thus obviating the need for him to sell the house during his

lifetime.

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Whose name is the house in? If it's the FiLs they have no call on it. Even if it is in joint names they will find it ranging from extremely difficult to impossible to force a sale of the property.

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Before anything can be done by the creditors the Estate has to be settled by the Executors who will have every right to demand proof of any debts and that they are legally enforceable. If there have been any unfair charges or PPI added to them these can be reclaimed + Statutory interest.

 

Your FiL is not personally legally responsible for any of these debts unless they were in joint names.

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It may be an idea to see the CAB on this one. They have to be careful not to do anything that would hinder the surviving spouse.

 

edit - if I remember correctly

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I would also offer my condolences

And, of course not forgetting that in a joint tenancy, the deceased person's share of the property automatically vests in the surviving tenant, and can't be bequeathed to anyone else, or, I would venture have a C.O. (But that would need to to be checked) so the poster's F-I-L now owns ALL the property as from the precise time of death of his wife

He really needs to be sure whether the debts are in joint names or not

I am a lawyer, but I am an academic lawyer. I do not practice as a barrister or solicitor. You should consult a practising Solicitor BEFORE taking any Court or other action

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Hi

 

First of all don't panic. I know this sounds pathetic advice but nothing is going to happen suddenly so you will have time to sort everything out.

Y

The house or deeds being in both names could be joint tenants or tenants in common (google for detail). Most likely is joint tenants which means when ine spouse dies the whole house belongs to surviving spouse. Crefitors cannot get mitts on house fact. The tenants in common situation is different. We had to double check my parents' by viewing deeds.

 

If surviving spouse has savings / bank account in own name then again creditors of deceased spouse cannot touch...

 

if there are joint named account then the creditors 'may' make a claim. It would take them a lot of tume and effort and only court itself would have power to get payment. Many banks or decent credit card companies write these off if you state there are no funda after paying other bills first eg funeral cost, tax and they are way down the list! Then therw may be no funda to pay them anyway.

 

Be wary id aoeaking to them on phone other than to ask for the bank's bereavment department and say you want them to cease sending bills or demanda for two months eg whilst family adjust to bereavment. One bank actually wrote ti my mum asking fir her to transfer grandaughter's account to pay off credit card debt and to get her to accept she acknowledges debt now hers!! A very wicked trick to try on an elderly person!! We did not pay them a penny. i will try to find directgov link for this stuff.

 

Go see a solicitor to get him/her to give initial advice simply to get your head round stuff.

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There is a DWP booklet which will help explain certain things, see attached pdf.

 

 

dwp1027.pdf

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Hi islahf,

 

Sorry for your loss, dealing with financial issues can be difficult at any time so must be particularly stressful for you at the moment.

 

I believe that PGH7447 is correct re the nature of the debt. If they were unsecured (ie personal loans) then the remaining spouse is not liable for them in any way, they are effectively written off as the debtor is deceased.

 

If the debt is secured against the house it is likely a creditor may try and enforce them, however, there are various steps you can take to try and mitigate this as people have mentioned above.

 

Hope you get it sorted

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Yes PGH7447 is correct. If as is likely the house is in joint tenancy then it will pass to him lock stock and two smoking barrels. Now as long as the debt from his deceased good wife is 1. Unsecured and two not in joint names they can whistle. Had the same sceniro for Daddy Hippy, he took out credit for Mummy Hippy unsecured credit cards and unfortunately he contracted a Brain Tumour. Mummy hippy gets house and I think it was Cohen and Cohen who came chasing. Explained sorry, no money in estate to pay you. They tried it on but under English law your debts if you have nothing die with you....... As rightly pointed out spend approx £50 on a hours consultation in respect with solicitor but they will tell you the same.

 

My condolences on your loss, but please do not worry. Check what the debts are first ( if unsecured then bingo ) they can whistle to the wind. Daddy Hippy has been gone for over four years, it took me two years to get rid of cohen, they even thought he owned the Nursing Home he was in..... They will spout about checking the land registry etc etc.... if your Paps is joint tenancy then really what can they do, it is his house now. Though a quick word of warning, insurance policies not in benefit ( under the married womans act of I believe 1887 should fall into the estate. That is easily sorted, Daddy Hippy's funeral and some utilites etc and any money owing to family and it's taken and gone.....

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]Happyhippy1959

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I think {although not 100% sure} personal items ie rings etc can be safely gifted to loved ones prior to passing away

HTH (Hope This Helps) RDM2006

 

THE FORCE (OF CAG) IS WITH YOU

;)

 

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All advice and opinions given by people on this site are personal, and are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, please seek qualified professional legal Help.

 

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Why not show your gratitude And

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it does not matter if it's rings or anything else if it is unsecured how are they to know what your mother in law had. As long as the executor has said there is nothing left end of..... !!!!!!!!! Honestly, without security they are up the river without a paddle.....

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]Happyhippy1959

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Hi All,

 

Thanks for all your feedback and suggestions. they have been very helpful.

 

As it stands at the moment most of the debt is in my MIL's name and they were unsecured as well. so hopefully most of the debt would be written off.

I have one last question

 

How soon should we start paperwork with our solicitor?, Should we wait until funeral is completed or should we inform creditors now and start proceeding.

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sorry Ishahf, what paperwork are you referring too ??? as stated the only people you should make a priority of informing are the Bank, the Council tax as a discount would now be forthcoming and any utilities that MIL was paying. The Land registry etc will be done by your solicitor. As for gifts of personal items all are correct they can be gifted and anyway nobody's business what MIL had in respect to personal jewellery. Only when the letters start coming do you inform them of your MIL death, just get lots of copies i.e. photocopy the death certificate or scan it if you have a scanner and that is good enough. Do not spend a fortune on copies of Death Certificate from registry office, a simple copy will do for the DCA's. Send it and as far as your concerned end of story. No if's no but's.

 

As you are now sure all is unsecured then tough bonnet to them.

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]Happyhippy1959

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Very sorry for your loss, it's a difficult time and I would simply put the family first and worry about debts later.

Creditors will contact you in their own time and you can respond to each in turn.

I had to go through probate before I became executor and didn't have a clue what to do.

 

I did get a few originals of the death certificate but they could be expensive now I don't know, in each case they were returned by creditors very quickly and could be used for the next.

 

My advice would be to contact CAB and see if they will act for you, that has to be the easiest option as you can simply hand over any letters from creditors.

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Further to Happhippys thread you would also perhaps need to contact the Inland Revenue as if she paid tax on her pension so there would be a small rebate. Also any insurance

and pensions companies hat your MIL had with, should be informed..

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