Death Of Loved Ones Leave 24% Of Brits Facing Debts

24% In UK Hit With Debts Of Up To £1,500 After Death In Family

27.01.2015

The proportion of people paying off the debts of a loved one after their death is around 24%, due in part to the rise of payday loans, it has been found.

The research, conducted by funeral plan provider Perfect Choice Funerals, found that four out of five of those using a loved one’s estate to pay off debts were completely unaware that their partner or family member owed any money.

Only two-thirds were made aware of the debts accrued by a family member within a week, with 10% of people going more than a year before they learned of the issue.

The study looked at bereavements over the past five years and found that, excluding mortgages, the main debts left behind were credit card debt and bank loans.

More than a third of partners were found to have repaid debts following the death of their significant other, whereas 21% of siblings and 15% of children became responsible for repaying loans after the loss of a family member. The debts took an average of seven months to repay.

Emma Simpson of Perfect Choice Funerals said that so many might be inheriting the debts of loved ones due to the stress of discussing them during such a sensitive period.

“The death of a family member is usually an incredibly difficult time, so revealing any debts that might exist can be a difficult subject to handle”, she said.

Expert Opinion
It is a common misconception that any debts accrued during your life will be wiped out in the event of death, but in actual fact they fall into the estate, which is then used to pay creditors before being passed on to relatives and friends.

“Therefore, it is important to discuss financial matters with family members and to reduce levels of debt as much as possible. The discovery of debts and the use of an estate to pay them off can add even further distress to loved ones, so it is important steps are taken to reduce this burden where possible. In order to reduce the likelihood of disputes developing it is vital people seek specialist advice about their circumstances to ensure that their wishes are being followed as closely as possible.”
Gillian Coverley, Partner