Grieving once your loved one has gone is bad enough, but what happens when there are numerous debts that will need paying off? With so much more to think about such as funeral costs, the added debts that are lingering around in the air are more than enough to leave you needing additional financial help or a guiding hand. It doesn’t have to be all complicated though. Once you’ve managed to prioritise your debts and get your head in the right space, dealing with leftover debts will be easier than it once seemed. You may find our guide below helpful.
Make Yourself Aware Of The Current Debts
Even in the tightest of relationships, you might not quite realise how much debt is left to pay. The first step to handling these debts is to carry out a count up of everything owed. This will include going through all of the papers and financial statements, which will give you a proper understanding of what needs to be paid and when. To make this process easier to manage, we suggest creating a list or even a spreadsheet to keep all data organised and trackable, as it will feel increasingly satisfying to tick off debts once they’re paid, hopefully lifting your spirits. As well as this, you will have to identify the types of debt that need paying, and each will require a different approach. These include:
Joint or Individual Debts
These types of debt are quite self-explanatory – an individual debt is one where the person has taken out the debt specifically in their name, such as a personal credit card. On the other hand, a joint debt is where a loan has been taken out in both partners’ names, and an example of this would be a joint mortgage.
Secured or Unsecured Debts
Another thing you will also need to understand is the difference between secured and unsecured debts. A car loan is an example of a secured debt, as this is where the individual has taken out a loan against an item or asset. On the contrary, unsecured debt is one where the money is not held against an asset.
Alert The Creditors
When grieving after a loved one has passed, it can be infuriating to receive letters or phone calls regarding your deceased’s financial situation, only making matters worse for you. To calm the stress of dealing with debts, it’s only best that you tell the creditors that the person has passed away. As difficult as this may seem at the time, it really is the best thing to do if you’re trying to manage the debts that your loved one has left behind. When contacting these creditors, outline the current legal process that you’re going through with the debts, and don’t be afraid to ask them for a financial statement either, as this will further help to you deal with these debts. Once creditors understand your situation, they should back off and give you the time needed to cope with the debts as well as grief that you’re feeling.
On top of this, you might want to check for insurance, as this will really help you to deal with the outstanding debts.
Take Over Any Bills With New Budgets
Unfortunately for some, the deceased partner may have been the one to deal with the household bills, and it may be that it is now your responsibility to gather the details and pay off the outstanding bills. Once you’re left on your own, it can be overwhelming so it is paramount that you make this process as easy for yourself as possible. Once your partner has passed, it may be that the household income will decrease significantly, but even so, sticking to a newly-formed budget should assist you with the transformation and help you to avoid even more debt.
If You’re Still Struggling…
There’s no shame in admitting that you’re deeply struggling with the management of your partner’s debt, especially if the death was sudden. Once your partner has unfortunately passed away, loneliness can be one of the most prominent feelings that you will experience, but it’s important to remember that you’re never alone, especially where financial crisis is concerned. Instead, there are many debt advisers out there to support you with dealing with leftover debts and offering advice on which option to take for managing such debts. Not only will they offer professional financial advice, but they’ll also ensure that you feel comfortable by being understanding and sympathetic.
With the correct approach, handling the debts left by a loved one can be made much simpler. Creating a manageable budget will always come in handy when trying to deal with major debts, and it will also assist you with the huge change in household income, preventing debts from arising in the future.
Generic advice is not a service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.