It is a common misbelief that if a person dies their debts die with them. Others mistakenly believe that it is close family relatives of the deceased who will be held liable for the debts of their loved one.
The reality is that all debts owed at the date of death should be paid out of the deceased assets held in their estate.
By this we mean that an estate comprises of all the assets the deceased owned such as bank accounts, shares, property etc. All the debts owed will be settled from these assets held if there is enough money available.
However, in some cases the debts can be greater than the assets held in the deceased `s estate and if this is in fact the case then the creditors must be paid first prior to any distribution of the estate and in a specific order.
Creditors are listed in order of priority which must be followed such as:
Firstly, secured creditors e.g.: an outstanding mortgage
Priority Debts such as: Council Tax
Unsecured debts such as: utility bills etc
If a debt was held jointly by the deceased with someone else e.g.: a surviving husband or wife, then they will become liable for the full outstanding amount owed after the deceased dies.
Dealing with an estate of a loved one can often be more complicated than you initially thought and at a time when you are already struggling and trying to cope with the grief of their loss. We are here to provide you with our expert professional legal advice and guide you through such difficulties helping to ease you through the estate administration process.