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Husband died, problems with joint bank account, Help please

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
19 replies 27.7K views
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  • Thanks for all the help, advice and sympathy everyone, it's really appreciated.

    I think I really will have to take legal advice, since I am completely baffled by things like whether or not I need to get probate, even googling doesn't really make it clear. My husband did indeed own the house outright, and it was solely in his name, I think he thought it would ensure that I had a home if he left it all to me, I very much don't want to sell it, and would rather find other ways to pay debts.

    I am very enclined to take everyone's advice and close the Lloyds account, I'm just a little concerned that I may find it hard to get another bank account.

    As for the credit card it was solely in his name, and I don't think it's in anyway linked to the joint account, but I'm not sure how I'd check this. And the joint account, well since my husband and I had had money problems, it is overdrawn, so to close it I'd need to pay off the overdraft first, which I think would be worth doing, I know Lloyds annoyed my husband a lot, and he often said he wanted to close the account.

    I'm wondering if I can just pay his credit card using monthly installments, I genuinely don't want the trauma of moving out of a home which is so comforting and familliar. Otherwise, rather than leave my home at a traumatic time, I'd rather take out a loan pay the debt in full, and then pay off the loan in installments. Part of the reason for that is that the house needs a ton of work doing in order to get the best price, and the other thing is I don't want to make big life changing decision when grieving.

    Once again thanks to everyone, and I'll need to read this several times to really fully take in all the advice.
  • edited 6 September 2012 at 8:00PM
    daskadaska Forumite
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    edited 6 September 2012 at 8:00PM
    Oh dear! He should have taken advice on that!

    I think it's certain that you will need to get Probate if there's a house included in the estate, I think the limit is £5K at the moment and I doubt there's many places you can buy a house for that.

    So one thing you will need to do is get a probate valuation on the house - ring a local estate agent and get that underway.

    The paperwork may look scary but it's nowhere near bad enough to need a solicitor to do all the work and you'll save yourself a packet if you do it yourself. I would recommend the book: Which? Wills and Probate (2012 edition). It's somewhat Cheaper at Amazon :D You may be able to borrow it from the library but check how old the edition is.

    You can go to a solicitor just to get advice on specific points without giving them the whole job.

    The Probate advice line are usually very good at helping you understand the process/questions. (If you get a dud one then say a polite farewell and ring back.) 0845 30 20 900 (this is the official site - please don't get caught by the ones that want to charge you for the same help!)

    One thing you could consider, if Lloyds press for the loan to be repaid, is to offer them a nominal sum each week - making it clear that to pay it in full will require you to sell the house and make yourself homeless. I wouldn't go down the route of taking a loan in your own name if you can avoid it. But that's just gut instinct rather than informed advice.

    And of course you can always come back here and go "heeeelllp".

    Best of luck :D
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  • edited 6 September 2012 at 8:54PM
    pearl123pearl123 Forumite
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    edited 6 September 2012 at 8:54PM
    I think it is highly unlikely you'd be forced to sell your home for such as small debt.
    Have you checked to see if your husband had any payment protection on his credit card?
  • meritatenmeritaten
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    I would say if the credit card is solely in your husbands name then he/his estate is liable for the balance outstanding. your bank account may be in joint names but that does not make you liable for any debts on a credit card in OHs name. This is not on - how dare they try to make you liable for your OHs debts on credit card!

    I would do a bit of stonewalling - tell them that any outstanding debts have to be referred to the executors of the will. then open another account in another bank solely in your name. administer the will and if there is not enough in the joint bank account to pay off the debt write and tell them so. You personally, are not liable for his debts hun.
  • RASRAS Forumite
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    Because the house was solely owned by the deceased there is a substantial estate for which you need probate.

    As executor you need to get probate. As part of that, you will have to pay off the funeral costs and the debt on the credit card, owed to Lloyds.

    You do not need Lloyds to do this, you can do it all yourself. You have several montrhs, even years to do this.

    Please open a new bank account elsewhere ASAP to prevent Lloyds offsetting (legally permissible) and income you receive into thwe joint account to pay his debt.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • PennyForThem_2PennyForThem_2 Forumite
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    How much is the house worth? In order to make sure that his estate is under the inheritance tax limit I would get a valuation from an estate agent - just say it is for probate. You will have to pay a fee - about 50 but that way you have documentation to prove it is all as you say in the probate form.

    I don't care what people say above - the probate form isn't at first glance simple, because it is catering for all scenarios.

    But with careful reading and using a spreadsheet it is doable. You will also have to make sure the tax office is informed. You will have to complete a form from them for the tax year in which he died. I found that my local tax office which had a help the public service invaluable - they basically filled in the forms for me.
  • sleepless_saversleepless_saver Forumite
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    Sorry for your loss, and all the problems you are having to deal with at a difficult time.

    There should not be a problem about opening a new bank account. You don't have to close the existing account to open a new account. Just choose a bank unconnected with Lloyds i.e. not Halifax or Bank of Scotland. If there are significant debt problems and you think you might be turned down for an ordinary current account you might be better with a basic bank account which all banks do have to offer.

    You might want to phone CCCS (a free service) on 0800 138 1111 about the debt problems.

    And if you haven't claimed bereavement benefits, that should be on your list too.
  • Really sorry for your loss, and I truly know how terrifying it all is at the moment as I lost my husband last year.

    I appear to have had a simple time on whole probate process and I did use a solicitor as I felt I had enough to deal with. All debts solely in his name should have been "frozen" until the estate is settled. I just called then all and the majority of companies had a specialist bereavement team who were patient and straight forward. Have you tried calling Lloyds Estate Administration Service (0845 300 1236) - these appear to offer a service (for a fee) on dealing with the admin on the account, but it may be worth just "picking their" brains on what is right and not!.

    We have always been with Nationwide and I did have to show them the death certificate and will, but they immediately transferred the account into just my name. Martyn's sole account was frozen until account was settled.

    Are you under 50 years old? If so, very highly recommend joining the Widowed and Young (WAY Foundation) where you can get the support and advise of other widows (the support I have received here has been a real life line to me!

    Wish you all the best on your journey (it won' be smooth, but you will get there!)
  • rosywrosyw Forumite
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    Firstly, I am so sorry for your loss, I do know what you are going through as I lost my husband a couple of years ago.

    Please don't let Lloyds bully you into signing anything! I had a dreadful time with them when my husband died, so I know how difficult they can be.
    I would recommend you get a solicitor to sort out probate, and get a couple of estate agent round to value the house. It needn't cost a fortune, I think I paid around £150, but it was worth it as I was also in shock from my husbands death, and didn't want any mistakes being made.
    As has already been said, money in joint accounts is NOT part of the estate, so don't let Lloyds try to take any of it, move it to another account with a different bank.
    If your husband was under pension age you can get a bereavement grant which will help with funeral costs, and you should also get bereavement benefits.
    Don't let anyone make you feel that everything has to be done NOW! make them wait until you are more able to deal with things. And most importantly, don't forget to look after yourself.
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