Deceased Husbands debts

Apologies if this is posted in the wrong place. I need some advice before contacting a debt collection agency.....
I am the sole beneficiary to my husbands estate and the executor. He has left 2 debts totaling to maybe £10000. I have been granted probate and the estate is only made up of the house we are living in.... Me and our two children 10 & 13 years.  Our home is owned outright.
I have spoken to the company Phillips and Cohen who had taken over the debts and offered to set up a payment plan but was quickly shot down with "we don't accept installments" and told to get advice from citizens advice. I cant get an appointment at CA (been trying for 2 weeks).
I want to be proactive with sorting this debt but I am really panicking they will force the sale of our home.
Any advice on what I should do would be really appreciated. Thank you

Comments

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,850
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    You could call National Debtline on 0808 808 4000. They are an independent charity. I'll also have a look for further information for you. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • SVaz
    SVaz Posts: 226
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    I would get some advice on the Debt free board from a poster called Sourcrates. 
    It’s highly unlikely they will try and make you sell the house for a small £10k debt.   The worst would possibly be a charge on the property should you ever sell it, again unlikely for unsecured debt. 

  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,158
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    Presumably you were actually married? I know some who refer to their long term partners as husband/wife but aren't actually legally married

    How was the home held, tenants in common or joint tenants? 

    He didn't own anything else in the world other than the house? No cash in a bank account? 

    Did you make a statutory notice of his passing? If so when did the creditors contact you relative to the notice?

  • Less than £500 in his bank (which they kept to pay off an overdraft), a car worth £200 maybe. We were with Step change paying off our debts and doing really well.... I am still with them paying my debts - I offered to keep his debts, I'm not trying to get out of paying them but they said I couldn't

    Yes. We were married for 16 years. The house was his before we met, always in his name. 
    It was our plan to leave it as inheritance for the children as it is the only thing of value we own. He changed his will to me being the only beneficiary when we knew the children would still be minors when he died. But I will honor our first plan and keep our house as their inheritance.

    I applied for and now been granted Probate is that statutory Notice?

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,850
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    Asking on the debt board is a good move. This link suggests that Phillips and Cohen do accept payment plans: Deceased Care – Phillips & Cohen Associates (UK) Ltd. (phillips-cohen.co.uk)

    It's not unreasonable to expect them to do everything their marketing blurb says they will do! So have a read, and hold them to what their website says.

    It is unreasonable for them to expect you to sell your home IF you can repay them in a timely manner, so you should make sure you have a Statement of Affairs (SoA) prepared that shows what you can afford. I think the debt board has a SoA template available. I'm not sure what would be considered a reasoanable time to repay a debt of £10,000 though. My guess is that 3 or even 4 years would be appropriate. If you call and offer them £200 per month and they turn it down, if they go to court and the court agrees you can only afford £150 per month, they can't accept your offer of £200 pcm at that point, so there is a risk for them in going to court if you have made a fair offer.

    So once you have worked out what you can afford to pay (via your SoA), make the offer to them by phone and then in writing. I would provide them with your SoA in your written offer letter. If they write back and say we don't accept, then you will need to wait to see what they do next, but if they call you to discuss it again, I would stick to what you have offered and don't be tempted to let them talk you up to paying higher figure just to get them off your back.

    Do you have any assets such as a car or any private pensions?

    Do you have any disabiltiies? This might factor into whether you are vulnerable in any way. 

    If you haven't checked what benefits you are entitled to, head over to entitledto.co.uk and use their Benefits Calculator.

    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,206
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    edited 24 October 2023 at 11:01AM
    It’s a shame you had not become joint tenants during your marriage as that would have avoided the need to get probate and more importantly would have effectively made his estate insolvent so these debts would have been had to be written off.

    As it is the debt will need to to paid and unfortunately debt has priority over beneficiaries in the order of settling an estate. Phillips and Cohen are not a bunch of heavies so they should be reasonable to deal with and won’t be looking to force a sale unless you don’t come up with a solution yourself. As I see it you have two options, downsize or take out a mortgage on the property.

    Rather than talk to CA, call the debt charity Stepchange who can provide you with expert advice and go through all your options.

    https://www.stepchange.org/
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 9,999
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    It’s a shame you had not become joint tenants during your marriage as that would have avoided the need to get probate and more importantly would have effectively made his estate insolvent so these debts would have been had to be written off.


    Creditors could still apply for an insolvency administration order - they have five years to to do so from the date of death.
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,206
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    Marcon said:
    It’s a shame you had not become joint tenants during your marriage as that would have avoided the need to get probate and more importantly would have effectively made his estate insolvent so these debts would have been had to be written off.


    Creditors could still apply for an insolvency administration order - they have five years to to do so from the date of death.
    Technically they could get a court to sever the tenancy post death, but the costs are prohibitive so it only happens where there is a significant level of debt. 
  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,232
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    Stop talking to P&C and post again on debt-free wannabe.


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