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Family debt...now court claim received.

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My brother in law asked me to pay back a loan of a few thousand pounds after my wife was killed in an accident .

At the time I was grieving and vunerable and also embarrassed as I didn’t know about it


I started paying him back

to date I have paid over half and have decided to stop paying as I had no idea what it was for and didn’t see the money .


I’m now being threatened with county court

if this happens should I counter claim for the money I’ve paid as there is no proof and I just have no idea what it was for ???:evil:

Edited by dx100uk

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Who is threatening you with county court ?


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If he can't/won't show proof of this alleged debt, let him sue you so he will be forced to disclose proof.

As he will have to follow the pre action protocol he will need to produce evidence of this debt.

One problem I see for you is that you have paid him some money, so he could say that you have known about this all along and only now you have decided to stop paying.

I would personally ask for proof and look through wife's accounts to see if there's anything there.

Finding nothing I would let him sue and risk a little further loss as you might find a good judge that throws the case out.

Also he could avoid court as it's a 50/50 and he could also risk a counterclaim from you.

My personal opinion, then you'll have to do what you think best.

Anyhow, ask for proof.

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So sorry to hear about your wife's death. In the awful circumstances of your wife being killed I can see how researching the law on this was not your first priority.


But it might be helpful to note that even if this debt does exist you personally are not legally liable for repaying it and cannot be sued in the county court. Nobody is responsible for or obliged to pay their spouse's debts. (Unless you had formally guaranteed the debt, which is not the case here.)


As for the payments you have already paid, if your b-i-l claimed this showed you accepted liability for the debt you'd have a strong defence. You would say, correctly, that you made the payments in error because you thought you were legally liable, and stopped paying when you discovered that you weren't. And I believe you could then recover payments made in error, but that needs researching a bit more.


The legal liability to repay this (if it is a loan that is legally repayable - that's yet to be established) falls on your late wife's Estate. Did she leave a Will? If so it's the responsibility of the Executors to satisfy themselves that the debt is actually due, and if it is to pay it.

Who are the Executors? That may be you too, but suing you as Executor isn't so straightforward. Is there sufficient money in your late wife's Estate to pay this debt if it is actually repayable?


It's not at all clear that this is a loan that could be recovered in court anyway. The court would have to decide whether it was a loan or a gift between brother and sister. Your b-i-l would have to prove to the court that the alleged loan was made. The court will not automatically accept it exists merely because he says so.

  • Confused 1

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another point to consider is the terms of the loan. If it is written down then the terms will be clear but if it was somehting vague like "here is some money to tide you over pay it back when you can" then there isnt a start or finish date to the agreement so it cannot be enforced.

You may well have reasonable cause to sue him for the retun of what you have already paid as it was never your debt even if it existed. Some people are so unscrupulous they might just invent a story to get some money. My daughter's ex did that to try and get money from my wife.

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Well Hes done it Ive got a claim on line.

Im going to strongly defend it.


I also have copies of messages from my wife to him discussing the loan.

All very secretive and paid into her account .


I have since sold the house and given her 2 sons aged 21 and 18 her share .

This has all come about as I have met someone.


If I counter claim it will cost me funds I cant really afford .

I just want him to leave me alone.

There is nothing to show that I had any money off him.

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He is stating that I knew about the loan which i didnt until after her death.

He has stated on his claim form that there are witnesses.


The worry I have is that I started paying him 250 per month but stopped when advised i am not liable.

I have bank statements showing the money going into my wifes account and coming out to other accounts but I have no idea where to .

He has also included in his claim £10 from a family meal and a bill for a solicitor.


I have no copy of the bill im not disputing it but I have requested a copy in response to his letter before action.

This has not been received.


There actually is no proof of debt at all .

I just dont relish going to court and seeing all my deceased partners relatives standing making false statements , I just want to move on now but this isnt going to go away.


My defense will have to be in by 4th March which Im ok with doing.


What happens next.?

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Thread moved to General Legal Issues Forum in view of the court claim received and thread title updated.





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If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

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anney63, please can give more information about your late wife's Will. Did she leave one? If so who are the executors?  They are responsible for paying any debts of your late wife.

Also can you post up on here a copy of the claim form you have received (with all identifying information, claim numbers, bar codes etc removed).

I've been away and only just logged back into CAG to read the thread. I see you has until yesterday to respond. What defence did you send (identifying details removed again)?

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