What to do after a death in Scotland ... practical advice for times of bereavement: 9th Edition

Listen

15. DEBTS

Debts are paid out of the dead person's estate. They must be settled before an executor can distribute any of the estate to beneficiaries. The executor must give six months for creditors to make claims for the person's debts before distributing the estate, otherwise the executor may be legally liable for unpaid debts. The executor should check gas, electricity and telephone accounts, any firm where the person had an account or a credit, hire purchase or rental agreement, and should normally advertise to invite creditors to make claims.

If the debts are greater than the assets of an estate, the executor should seek legal advice. There are complicated rules for paying out what assets there are to the various creditors.

Do not be rushed into parting with goods before taking legal advice. Hire purchase goods cannot be repossessed after a third of the purchase price has been paid, unless the creditor gets a court order.