Drowning not waving

I've watched and listened to Martin Lewis for years and, in spite of what you're going to read, understood most of it. This is my first post so I'll get directly to the point.
I am a 52yr old single person, £80k in credit card debt and living on JSA and Housing benefits. I've been paying £1 a month to my creditors for a couple of years and they have been very good, so far, as I respond to their letters as they arrive, however my stress levels are such that I may soon falter in this as I am on medication for depression, anxiety and insomnia. Now my savings are gone, my outgoings exceed my incomings and I have nothing of any value to sell. I cannot even afford to go bankrupt and was told by a CCCS person (before they changed) that I may not be allowed to go bankrupt as I have no earnings coming in to stop me getting back into debt. Was the bankruptcy advice correct?
I have mental health problems and am terrified that if I was to die (I don't have a will and can't afford one) that my adult children, who are in their 20s and both intelligent people working long hours in low paid jobs with committments of their own, would have to pay my bereavement costs and disbursements. I have family and friends who have all lived their lives and managed their affairs properly but where would it end if I asked them for money?
I know I've been an idiot in how I've conducted my affairs but there are other factors which have prevented me getting employment, such as just losing confidence in myself and my "abilities". If I did get a minimum wage job or, as I used to have, a job with a £35k salary, how could this effect my CC debts and their attitude.
What would happen if I died without a will, £80k in debt, no cash and a small pension pot of approx £20k
I am totally ashamed of my situation and absolutely at my wits end.
I realise this is a "first world" problem and I'm lucky not to be in Syria, Liberia or Eastern Ukraine however it's still MY problem to somehow deal with.
Please advise me if I have any options as I honestly can't see any.


  • Hello :)

    I just wanted to say you are very brave for posting, good work. I don't see why you couldn't go bankrupt as now you are running out of money and soon won't be able to pay.

    I don't have much experience of this to be honest but please above all else remember they cannot take what you haven't got and you have managed so far. No it hasn't been fun but you have found us now and I promise you one of the more knowledgeable people will be a long to help.

    You are not alone ok. I am here and the whole board is here to help.

    Keep reading, there will be more answers soon

    Nevertheless she persisted.
  • i think you have to forgive yourself for getting into debt. You are doing what you can to get out, you can do mo more, so forgive yourself and let go of the guilt.

    Re the will, make am appointment with Citizens Advice and see what they say about your debt and the costs if you die. Do your children know about the debt and your worries? It might be tie to take the bull by the horn and talk to them.
    Cats don't have owners - they have staff!! :D:p
    DFW Long Hauler Supporter No 150

  • beanielou
    beanielou Posts: 89,277
    Academoney Grad I'm a Volunteer Ambassador Mortgage-free Glee! Name Dropper
    Try your local CAB or similar for advice.
    Keep plodding xx
    I am a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on Mortgage Free Wannabe & Local Money Saving Scotland & Disability Money Matters. If you need any help on those boards, do let me know.Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any post you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button , or by emailing [email protected]. All views are my own & not the official line of Money Saving Expert.

    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/14.**Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** MFW. Finally mortgage free O2/ 2021****
    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.

    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    ***Keep plodding*** Out of debt, out of danger. ***Be the difference.***
    One debt remaining. Home improvement loan.
  • Hey there, welcome. :)

    I must point out before I comment further that I'm a debt adviser in Scotland, and things are quite different, so this is based on Googling and stuff I remember from before I moved here.

    As far as funeral costs go, I believe the person who arranges it pays for it, and can try to recover the cost from your estate if there is one.

    If there isn't enough money in your estate, then they may end up not recouping the money they paid out, but funeral costs are paid out before unsecured debt, so if there's a pension, then it sounds to me as though they'd be able to get back what they have to pay out.

    The thing about JSA is that it IS supposed to be enough to live on (:rotfl: yes I know), so to say you couldn't go bankrupt because you have insufficient income to stay out of debt is a bit of a nonsense. I sincerely hope that's incorrect.

    This is From StepChange (formerly CCCS)'s own website:
    Bankruptcy fees differ depending on where you live. In England and Wales the bankruptcy fee is £700. This is made up of a court fee of £175 and a fee of £525 which is paid to the Official Receiver. In Northern Ireland the fee is £647, which is made up of a court fee of £115, a solicitor fee of £7 and £525 to the Official Receiver.

    If you’ve got a low income or receive benefits, you may be exempt from paying the court fee so you can go bankrupt for £525 in England and Wales or £532 in Northern Ireland.

    The bankruptcy fee is still pretty expensive, if you have no money. Something I do for many of my clients is make applications to the British Gas Energy Trust (don't have to be a BG customer to do this) to see if they can help by paying the bankruptcy fee. There are other charities who may help with it too. A good place to look is the Turn2Us website, that lists charitable grants available depending on where you live, why you need one, what your previous profession was, etc.

    Make sure you're getting the maximum Council Tax Reduction. You might also want to look at whether you should be on JSA or ESA, if you aren't currently able to work, and perhaps PIP too (this does cover mental health conditions, but is more difficult to get the necessary 'points', so it's worth finding a charity close to you who can help you with the application - as Beanie says, the CAB are usually excellent, although there can be a bit of a wait for an appointment).

    Lastly, it's not unusual to feel guilt, shame and fear when you feel like you can't get your financial situation under control, but taking small steps to sort things out can really help.

    Who hasn't made mistakes? I'm the queen of them. :)
    I'm a Money and Debt Adviser for a homelessness and housing charity in Scotland. If you have any questions about debt management and debt relief under Scots Law, just ask.
    The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow.
  • roxy7699
    roxy7699 Posts: 1,067
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Would one of the companies make you bankrupt if you were to stop paying, have they threatened it at all?
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 341.5K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.8K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 605.9K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.4K Life & Family
  • 246.7K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards