There may be a number of reasons why you are asking this question. You might be simply curious or you might have been recently diagnosed with a condition and have started worrying about how your debt may affect your family.

There is some good news on the subject to share. Read about it below!

Do My Debts Die with Me? (Quick Answer!)

Debts in the UK cannot be inherited, which means your debts will die with you. But that isn’t the full story and it can get a little more complicated, especially with secured debts against a property.

If you die with unsecured debt, the estate you leave behind can be used to pay off the debt. If your estate doesn’t cover the full amount owed, what cannot be paid back to creditors will be written off when you die.

Who Is Responsible for Paying Back the Debt?

The executor of the will is responsible for getting in touch with your creditors and informing them of the death. However, the executor is NOT personally responsible for the debt in any way. It is only their responsibility to inform the creditor(s) and execute the payment from any estate leftover when applicable.

What If My Estate Doesn’t Cover the Debt?

Creditors cannot ask for any more money from the executor if the estate does not cover the money owed. However, they can ask for any money they should have received if they were not given notice of the death or a chance to request their proportion of the estate. We cover this in further detail later. 

Do Joint Debts Die with Me?

If you have a debt that is the responsibility of two people, the debt will only die with you if the other person who is responsible for the debt has already passed away. 

But if one of the people who are responsible for the debt is still alive, then they become solely responsible for the debt owed.

What Are Some Examples of Joint Debt?

There are lots of debts that can be owed by two people. The most common types of joint debts are owned by couples with a joint mortgage or joint owners of a bank account that has an overdraft.

The former is a type of secured debt and they can be more complicated. Keep scrolling to learn more!

What Should I Do If I Now Own a Joint Debt Alone?

If the person you had a joint debt with has passed away, then it could be the case that you cannot pay off the debt with their estate and cannot afford repayments on your own.

In this situation, you should contact the bank or creditor who you owe and explain what has happened. The most responsible and respected lenders are often sympathetic during these events and can try to rearrange repayments to make them more affordable for you as the new sole debtor. 

Can other Creditors Take Our Home to Repay the Debt?

One of the common questions among debtors is if creditors that you owe an unsecured debt to can take your home from your estate to pay it off. If your estate leaves the home to someone else, or the home is in joint names in the Land Registry, then this cannot happen.

Debt repayments after death have a special order and debts because of credit card, loans or something else cannot be paid back with your jointly owned property. Overall, secured debts like mortgages get priority over the others, and your loved one has the opportunity to keep the family home.

Don’t Forget to Check Your Life Insurance!

It may be the case that any life insurance you have covers any outstanding reportage payments in the event of death. You might want to look into this yourself and inform the executor of your will about any beneficial insurance you have.

How Can Debtors Help the Will’s Executor?

If you already know that the executor of your will is going to have to deal with your unpaid debts, you can give them a helping hand by providing them with key information about the debt and help them plan what to do.

This could be difficult if you have not told loved ones about a debt you are currently paying off, but it could help the situation and make things easier for them after you have passed away.

What Happens If You Don’t Disclose a Debt?

If you do not tell loved ones about a debt and you die, they might have trouble identifying the debt and paying what is owed (from the estate).

It is not a legal requirement, but it recommended, for the executor of the will to place a notice in the newspaper about the death, known as a Deceased Estate Notice. The reason it is recommended is that if the executor shares the estate out with creditors and then finds out about another debt, the creditor is still able to ask for the money.

Thus, the executor could then be held personally responsible for the debt and be asked to pay it from their own pocket. This is another reason why it can be best to disclose all debts to your will’s executor.

Paying Off Debts Before You Die

There are ways you can reduce the money owed to creditors when you die by paying off as much of the debt when you are still alive. This might not be beneficial in niche situations, but in most situations, it is.

There is a range of debt solutions which can help. Learn about them now on our debt solutions explanation guides.

This article should not be considered as legal advice.

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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