After discovering her dead husband had amassed 50,000 pounds worth of secret debt, a widow is being forced to sell her home. When something like this happens it’s a tremendous shock.
Mrs S, who lost her husband to a sudden stroke just three months ago, said she had absolutely no idea that her husband had been to court six times over his unpaid debts. While putting his affairs in order some weeks after his death, she decided to sell the Ford Mondeo he used for work. A mass of unpaid bills was found when their daughter went to clear out the car. They had been stashed with other documents in the glove box. She also found more paperwork that related to debts with lenders, utility companies, their mortgage provider and the Inland Revenue.
The 50,000 pounds worth of debt was made up from more than 25,000 pounds in bank loans, 9,000 pounds in unpaid taxes, 7,000 pounds on credit cards and 4,000 pounds in mortgage arrears.
Unfortunately, Mr S did not have life insurance meaning that his widow, Mrs S, at the age of 62 must sell their family home. She has no alternative as she needs to pay the money off or risk having her home repossessed.
The mother-of-one said: ‘We were married for 29 years, and I feel like I’ve been married to a man that I didn’t even know. ‘He used to pay the bills, and as far as I knew he was paying them all. I think that he wasn’t getting as much work as he let on but tried to keep everything going. ‘I feel angry, but I also feel sad. It must have been awful for him, I think he was doing it to protect me, so I didn’t have to worry.’
Mr S worked as a self-employed carpenter and told his wife he was bringing in 700 to 800 pounds per week. However, since his death neighbours have told Mrs S that he was often at home during the day – Mr S, 59, died on August 24 last year whilst out with friends.
In a turn of fortune, she has since found out she is only liable for 16,000 pounds of the debt. These are for arrears to the utility companies and some of the loans, the rest were solely in her husband’s name. Unfortunately though, her earnings as a college secretary are not enough to cover their 1,000 pound a month mortgage and repay the debt.
Due to the property slump she has also been forced to reduce the asking price for their three bed detached home to 180,000 pounds. This is 40,000 pounds less than it was worth just a few months ago. The sale will therefore leave her with just 15,000 pounds as their mortgage stands at 165,000 pounds.
Mrs S said: ‘The mortgage company has said that if I go two months in arrears they will begin the repossession process. ‘If I manage to sell my house for 180,000 then at least I’ll manage to clear my debt. It’s a horrible shock, but I feel worse for Mr S as well. ‘But with the debts and the mortgage deal he got, I’ve got no alternative than to give the house up.’