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Thread: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

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  1. #1
    Flawless's Avatar

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    Default Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    Hi guys

    New to this so bare with me. My dad passed a way a few weeks ago without a will. I closed his bank account with £32,000 in just by taking his death certificate and ID no probate was needed or applied for. I wasnt a named executor.or anything but as his daughter i was granted permission to close his account and outstanding funds after i paid funeral was £27k which was sent to me which i intend to share between us 4 siblings. I have read online that dwp and other companies can claim on his estate. Im just wondering as i didnt apply for probate and wasnt an official executor am i still liable to pay off any bills. I know my dad had a bit of debt with the water company in the tune.of a few thousand pound. They have wrote to me asking about any probate ive applied for in order the get a final bill.

    Basically what im asking is....as i didnt apply to probate to release funds (dad didnt own his.own property) and im not an official executor as no will.... am i still laible to pay off dads debts?

    Im being pressured into releasing the funds to my siblings but im worried about debt collectors chasing me. I understand this to be the case if im named as executor but im not sure if my case is slightly different.

    Thanks for reading and appreciate any help on this.

  2. #2
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    Hi Flawless,
    In short, yes the debts do have to be dealt with. It is a common misconception that when a person dies, his/her debts are automatically discharged. Debts are not discharged on death unless specific provision has been made for them to be discharged, e.g. by an insurance policy. All debts that are not provided for must be met from the assets of the deceased debtor.
    Don't pay any money out to any of the beneficiaries until you have sorted the debts.
    Do you know exactly what debts your dad owed? If you do you need to write to them or call them and ask for the final figures if you haven't already?
    I assume that there is not a property to be sold? If there is you will need to apply for a Grant. If not you still need to deal with the estate correctly.
    If dad didn't have enough assets to meet all the debts, the estate is insolvent. There is then a strict order of how the debts are dealt with and who will receive what. You can get more info here :- https://bereavementadvice.org/topics...olvent-estates
    Money advice service also has some helpful info here :- https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.u...e-who-has-died
    Hopefully this helps?
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  3. #3
    warwick65's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    Hi
    Apart from the legal parts of probate on which i will not comment I can tell you what i did when my ex died ( I was next of kin as we were still legally married).

    Did the bank ask you to sign anything before they released the money? I know RBS did with me.

    I wrote to each of her creditors, enclosed a copy of the death certificate and explained I was trying to assess her liabilities and would they therefore provide proof of and credit agreement and balance. Most did not reply and therefore got diddly squat.

    I also understand and I am sure this can be confirmed by peridot
    You can place and Ad in the London Gazette and after a period, if no one comes forward as a creditor they have lost their chance.

    I also spent £117 ( vat was 17.5%) on 30 mins with a solicitor just checking I had followed procedure - money I felt was well spent
    Any advice or opinions I offer are based on my experience dealing with personal debt as well as other life events.
    I have no formal legal training
    Any advice is offered without liability
    If in doubt take professional legal advice or contact the CAB

  4. #4
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    Hi again,

    Good practical advice warwick65.

    If you are unsure of what debts dad had and feel you need some protection then you can place section 27 notices (the ad) in the London Gazette and a local newspaper to where your dad lived. This only protects you personally from future claims if you leave the notice in for 2 consecutive months. Any creditors will then contact you.

    If they don't contact you in that time, they may still come forward at a later date but you can't be held liable for the debt. They would then still be able to pursue the debt, but have to deal with the beneficiaries instead, which can be problematic, legacies may have been spent etc.

    You are also expected to deal with any other debts that you know of even, if they do not come forward following the ad.

    If you are certain of what debts dad had, it may not be necessary to place these types of notices. There is of course a charge usually around £250 or so to place the notices.

    Here if you need any other pointers
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  5. #5
    Diana M's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    I think you need to establish exactly what the debts are and whether they are 'enforceable' before paying them.

    If any of these debts/accounts are/were regulated by the Consumer Credit Act you may wish to send each one a formal s 77-79 CCA Request to see if the current owner can produce a compliant copy of the credit agreement.

    If a debt is unenforceable in life then it is unenforceable even after the person has passed away.

    Check before you use your and your siblings' potential inheritance to pay debts which may not need to be paid.

    Di
    I am a Litigation Executive at Joanna Connolly Solicitors a firm which specializes in consumer credit.

    This forum’s site rules don’t allow me to give advice by PM but if you need to contact me please email [email protected]. Our initial advice is always free.


    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any advice I provide is without liability. If you are unsure please seek formal legal guidance or contact your local citizens advice bureau at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

  6. #6
    Flawless's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    Quote Originally Posted by Peridot View Post
    Hi Flawless,
    In short, yes the debts do have to be dealt with. It is a common misconception that when a person dies, his/her debts are automatically discharged. Debts are not discharged on death unless specific provision has been made for them to be discharged, e.g. by an insurance policy. All debts that are not provided for must be met from the assets of the deceased debtor.
    Don't pay any money out to any of the beneficiaries until you have sorted the debts.
    Do you know exactly what debts your dad owed? If you do you need to write to them or call them and ask for the final figures if you haven't already?
    I assume that there is not a property to be sold? If there is you will need to apply for a Grant. If not you still need to deal with the estate correctly.
    If dad didn't have enough assets to meet all the debts, the estate is insolvent. There is then a strict order of how the debts are dealt with and who will receive what. You can get more info here :- https://bereavementadvice.org/topics...olvent-estates
    Money advice service also has some helpful info here :- https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.u...e-who-has-died
    Hopefully this helps?
    Thanks for your reply.

    My dad had a credit card bill of £1,000 with the building society he held.his money...which i have paid off. He has had a debt collector at the door this morning from moorecroft for.an outstanding catalogue bill.

    He was in credit with gas and electric but i know he had a long standing dispute with welsh water.

    I understand he didnt pay his water bill for at least 15 years...could i argue the bill as statute barred and only pay up for recent use?

    Also what are the consequences if i dont pay off the 2 above debts. Will they chase me for it....even though i wasnt offically named as an executor?

    Thanks so much again for your.time replying

  7. #7
    Flawless's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    Hi yes the bank did get me to sign a 'closure of account form' one section of which required a swear of oath at a solicitors office.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I know one of the debts was £1,000 with studio cards.....morecroft.debt recovery has the account now.

    Another debt was with welsh water.....for.unpaid account. Im not sure what the total.amount was until i request.a final.bill.

    Do.you this those above debts are 'enforceable'?

    Thanks

    - - - Updated - - -

    I know one of the debts was £1,000 with studio cards.....morecroft.debt recovery has the account now.

    Another debt was with welsh water.....for.unpaid account. Im not sure what the total.amount was until i request.a final.bill.

    Do.you this those above debts are 'enforceable'?

    Thanks

  8. #8
    warwick65's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    Hi
    I can't comment on the water but when was the studio cards account opened? Might be relevant
    Any advice or opinions I offer are based on my experience dealing with personal debt as well as other life events.
    I have no formal legal training
    Any advice is offered without liability
    If in doubt take professional legal advice or contact the CAB

  9. #9
    des8's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    " I know my dad had a bit of debt with the water company in the tune.of a few thousand pound." Post 1
    "I understand he didnt pay his water bill for at least 15 years...could i argue the bill as statute barred and only pay up for recent use? " Post 6
    "Another debt was with welsh water.....for.unpaid account. Im not sure what the total.amount was until i request.a final.bill. " Post 7

    I think you really need to get the final account to find out how much and for how long.
    If it is for 15 years I''m surprised Dwr Cymru haven't already initiated court proceedings.
    Are there any details (or copies of correspondence) about this dispute.
    If there have been continuing negotiations for all of 15 years it is unlikely to be stat barred, but Dwr Cymru might be open to negotiating a smaller payment just to settle the matter.

  10. #10
    Flawless's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    Studio cards account was opened a few years ago and dad was paying and was upto date a few months ago until he became poorly and went i to hospital

  11. #11
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dad died with small estate and no will. Do i have to pay his debts

    Hi Flawless,
    You need to contact all the creditors and find out exactly what is owed, also letting them know that your father has died. Any interest should be frozen from the date he died and this is what most companies would do. You will need to send a death certificate to them as well which they should return to you.
    Once you know exactly what debt they are alleging is due you can then negotiate and establish if the debts are correct.
    As others have mentioned the debt to the water board even though it is 15 years old appears to have been acknowledged more recently as have any other debts from your posts. Get the figures and then pop back if you need more guidance on how to deal with them.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

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