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Buachaill
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10624
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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A friends husband died 17.12.13. He left a credit card bill

Customer Question

A friend's husband died 17.12.13. He left a credit card bill of £704.44, a joint mortgage of £54565.78 and a loan debt of £1897.89. She is a nursing home. Is she bound to pay these bills? When he died there was £3443.08 in a joint savings account and £1840.27 in a joint current account. He and his wife own their property bar the above outstanding amount. I am writing as her friend. I have been sorting her monetary affairs but do not know how to advise her with regard to the debts. Thank you. Wendy Beard
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 3 years ago.

Buachaill :

1. IN law a wife is a separate person from her husband and has no liability for his debts, whether he is alive or whether he is dead. Accordingly, the wife has no liability here.

Buachaill :

2. The proper course of action here is for the estate of the deceased husband to be declared bankrupt and his creditors paid whatever percentage in the pound which his assets allow.

Buachaill :

3. However, the wife should not get into paying or discharging any of her deceased husband's debts. In law she has no liability for this. However, she should be aware that all of her deceased husband's assets, including his half share in the property or house will have to be sold to pay off the creditors.

Customer:

What you say is very incongruous. If she wants to live in the house she will not want to take on such a debt of half the house at this point in her life. He did not have a will and I don't know how to work out how much his estate is worth. It would seem to me that it is going to be simpler for her to pay the debts than to have to leave it and have them chase her through the courts for the money which it seems likly that they will do.

Buachaill :

4. That all depends on how much assets her husband left. If his assets outweigh his debts, then all the creditors are entitled to look to them for payment. The wife can avoid liability for her husband's assets, but she cannot prevent his assets being sold to pay his debts. That is logical. She can simply downsize from her house, now that she is on her own and move somewhere else. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. You cannot simply take your husband's assets and expect his creditors to swing for their money

Customer:

ok. thank you. Wendy Beard

Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10624
Experience: Barrister 17 years experience
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Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
HiIt is likely that the house has passed to you friend by right of survivorship.Clearly she remains responsible for the mortgage since that is in joint names and she will have to make a decision about what is to happen to the house - either sell it to pay off the mortgage or get permission to let it.If the other two debts are in her husband's SOLE name and there were no asset sin his SOLE name then you simple write to them and say so - and the debts dies with her husbandPlease ask if you need further detailsClare