|*Margaret came into the office looking tearful and grasping a handful of papers. I took her into a private room, and asked her how we could help. Her husband had died and she had just received a letter saying that there was a debt outstanding, which she didn’t think she could pay. She didn’t know what do and was at the end of her tether.
Having checked the letter I noticed that it was only addressed to the husband. After checking the Citizens Advice website (www.citizensadvice.org.uk) I was able to tell her that if she had not been named on the credit agreement she was not responsible for the bill, but the lenders would be allowed to try to get back the money from her husband’s estate if there was enough money/possessions or property left after he had died.
Margaret was very relieved to hear this. After discussing her situation further and establishing that her son had a computer, I suggested that she asked him to look up the website www.citizensadvice.org.uk where they would find much more information about dealing with the financial affairs of someone who has died. Or alternatively, she could make an appointment to come in and someone would go through it with her. They would also be able to check whether she might be eligible for other benefits or support now that her circumstances had changed.
Margaret went away feeling much better now that she had got advice and knew where to come back to if she had more questions.
*This is a typical story of a client’s problem, names and events have been altered for confidentiality purposes.