What Happens to Debt When Someone Dies from a Law Perspective?

Here’s the next in what will be an ever growing series of comments and answers from a legal perspective.  You can read the first blog post here.

Usually when thinking about the financial affairs of someone who has passed away, the first thing people think of is inheritance and distributing assets. However, it is also important to consider what happens when a loved one leaves behind minor or significant debts and to understand how they are dealt with.

This post considers different debts that could be left behind by a loved on and how they are deal with both practically and by the law.

What happens to debts when someone dies?

When a person passes away, any debts that they owe are paid out of their estate. Your estate is the name for any money and property that you leave behind. You will only be responsible for the debts of a deceased person if you had a joint loan or agreement or you acted as a guarantor for that person. You will not be held automatically responsible for a partner, spouse or civil partner’s debts.

What makes up a persons estate?

The estate of the deceased is made up of any cash (including from insurance payout), any investments, property and possessions they left behind.

The estate of the deceased person is dealt with by one or more executors – you can appoint a solicitor to be your executor or any family members or friends who you believe would be able to carry out the role.
In the event that the estate is worth over a certain amount, the executor must apply to the court for special permission (known as Confirmation) to enable them to deal with the deceased’s affairs, including paying off any debts.

What happens if there is not enough to pay the deceased’s debts?

Where there is not enough in the deceased’s estate to pay off all of the debts owed, the debts must be paid out in a certain priority order until the money from the estate runs out. Debts must be paid out before anything can be given to people named in the will.

What if I owned a home with the deceased?

If you and the deceased person owned a home together and there is not enough money in the estate to pay the debts of the deceased, you may have to sell your home. The options available to you will depend greatly on whether you owned it jointly with or without an automatic destination to the survivor in the title to the property.

If you are unsure about this, you can speak to a solicitor.

Jointly with no destination to the survivor

This means that in the will, there is no automatic transfer of the deceased share in the property to the person they jointly own the property with.

If this is the case, the share of the property belonging to the deceased person will become party of their estate and go to whoever is mentioned in their Will. However, if there are outstanding debts on the estate, these must first be paid out. In order to avoid the sale of your jointly owned home, you would have to negotiate with those who are owed money by the deceased and find a way to pay the money that is owed to the creditors.

Jointly with a destination to the survivor

Where this is the case, the person’s share of the jointly owned property will automatically pass to you under what is known as a ‘survivorship’ clause.

However, even though the property passes into your possession, the debts still cannot be ignored.

It is possible for creditors to apply for sequestration of the deceased’s estate within 5 years of the debt occurring.

If sequestration is granted, the person appointed as trustee in sequestration can raise an action and ask the court to divide the property and force the sale of the property.

How are other debts paid off?

Mortgages: The mortgage lender may have required life insurance – this could pay off the outstanding mortgage. However, if there is no insurance, or any second mortgages that are not covered by insurance, the property may have to be sold to pay off the outstanding mortgage.

Rent arrears: If you had a joint tenancy with the deceased, you will be responsible for paying off any rent arrears.

Council Tax and Rates: If anyone still lives in the former home of the deceased, they will be responsible for any ongoing charges. However, if the property becomes unoccupied, there may be certain discounts and exemptions availiable. You can check with your local authority to see if any of them apply to the property.

Fuel bills: If you have been living in a property jointly with the deceased, you may be personally liable for any outstanding fuel bills.

Hire purchase agreements: With a hire purchase agreement, the buyer does not own the property until the last payment has been made. On the other hand, if over a third of the payment has been made, the seller will require a court order to get the property back.

Before you return the goods or making any payments, you should check to see if there was a payment protection plan in place.

Personal loans, credit cards and credit debt: If cards are held jointly, any debts will be the joint holder’s responsibility – but check to see if you’re covered by a payment protection plan.

Tax debts and overpaid benefits: Any tax that is owed by the deceased, or any benefits or pension payment that have been made in error, will be paid out of the estae of the deceased.

To avoid overpayment happening, and also to check if any tax is owed, you should contact the relevant office as soon as possible. It is important to keep in mind that the Department of Work and Pensions often makes claims against estates so this is something you cannot simply ignore.

They will check the form lodges with the Sheriff Clerk for Confirmation and will compare this with their own records to assess the means tested benefits received by the deceased.

If they find a discrepancy, they are likely to lodge a claim against the deceased’s estate to recover this. It is a good idea to check whether any benefits or tax is owed before distributing the remainder of an estate if you are appointed as the executor.

London Most Common For Cyclist Accidents

A quick and easy blog post that I put together on a subject that is actually very close to my heart due to being personally involved in a bike accident in London.

Statistics reveal that London remains the most dangerous city for cyclists despite potential redevelopment.


Transport for London have expressed their determination to make London more “bike-friendly” by redeveloping some of the most dangerous areas of the city for cyclists.

According to statistics the number of cycling journeys has risen from 270,000 to 580,000 in just over ten years, with roughly 475 biking accidents occurring in London, and 14 fatal accidents in the capital in 2013.

Despite the number of car and bike journeys increasing, injuries and accidents are fortunately not increasing at the same rate as 1990s levels, with the ratio of bike injuries to accidents decreasing.

Notorious Danger Spots

Some of London’s roundabouts, such as the Elephant and Castle roundabout, are the top danger spots in the UK, with Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) being one of the main dangers to cyclists.

Research showed that 21% of all serious injuries in regards to cyclists in London involved a minibus, however collisions with HGV vehicles were the most common type of fatal accident, with 6.8% of all fatal accidents being from collisions with HGVs. A quarter of all deaths were a result of incidents involving vehicles weighing more than seven and a half tonnes.

Rush hour remains the most dangerous time for cyclists, with 25% of all the city’s traffic on the road, 36% of which uses the Elephant and Castle roundabout.


Transport for London announced that they are intending to invest over £300 million in redeveloping 33 junctions and roundabouts in the capital in order to make them more bike friendly.

The move comes following statistics that show over 4,500 cyclists were injured in London in the last year. According to Andy Cawdell, a co-founder of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), the reform will not be effective due to London’s roads being “too busy and non-malleable”.

Possible solutions suggested to reduce accidents have involved attempts to redirect traffic and provide cyclists with clearer routes and greater space and vision. Despite the efforts, London still remains the deadliest and most likely place for cyclists to be involved in accidents.

Cycling Accident Claims for Personal Injury

If you have been involved in an accident with a vehicle and injured as a result, then I recommend that you contact a no win, no fee personal injury lawyer who will be able to help. Cyclists are vulnerable road users. Due to the lack of protection they have, they can receive serious and lengthy injuries following an accident, that can also leave them out of pocket due to the extent of their injuries.

If you have been involved in an accident with a vehicle and your injuries are not too serious, you should exchange details with the driver, take note of the vehicle registration, the driver’s name, address, telephone number and, if possible, their insurer. Make sure you check these details to ensure they are accurate.

As well as the details of the driver, if there are any witnesses that may be able to back up your claim, it is important to also get their details so that they can be contacted to support your account of events.

If you have been seriously injured, your safety is paramount, ensure you are in a safe place and seek medical support as soon as possible. 

Most Common Types of Cycling Accidents

Cyclists can be dismounted or injured through many types of accidents such as:

  • Cars colliding with cyclists at busy junctions or roundabouts
  • Drivers pulling out on minor roads into path of cyclist
  • Bike wheels getting stuck in tram tracks, potholes or any iron work
  • Cyclists being struck by doors of vehicles being swung open

All Edgar Cayce – Information on the Old CD I Used to Love

edgarcaycecdI used to love this old CD collection by ARE about Edgar Cayce readings but have lost my copy.  If anyone has on that they would be willing to sell please contact me.

All Edgar Cayce” offers new tools and information for both the experienced Cayce reader, and those just discovering Edgar Cayce prophecy and readings.

This site, and the creation of the new Edgar Cayce Readings CD ROM (© 2002), were labors of love, as were his work, words and prophecies.

The CD was designed to be far more comprehensive, stable, reliable and easy to use than the previous one (we did not create that one).

We also offer a unique free online method for getting daily Edgar Cayce inspirational quotes. If you believe in synchronicity, a “flow” or getting indirect messages from God or Angels, the computer generated quotes that appear after you ask for guidance, or a specific question, may be just for you!

We hope that our efforts will help spread Edgar Cayce’s message, and inspire the true manifestations of spiritual transformation – living a life of selfless love, truth, and kindness.

The CD ROM was created with the help of, and in association with, the Association For Research and Enlightenment (ARE), an organization dedicated to the Edgar Cayce readings.