Do I have to pay deceased uncle's debt?

My uncle recently passed away.

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I was his next of kin and had power of attorney. He had no estate or savings and didn't leave a will.

I popped into his bank to provide them with a copy of the death certificate and I also left my contact details.

Weeks later I received a letter stating that they expect me to pay an outstanding credit card bill. Am I legally bound to pay this bill?

YOU personally are not obliged but the estate is, and this is represented by whatever money or assets your uncle had.

Your power of attorney ceased on his death, and as he made no will, someone with legal right should apply to the court to be appointed executor-dative.

If you are legally eligible (not always the same as being next-of-kin) then you can do this but you are not obliged to do so. If however, you are holding money from your uncle's estate the bank can get appointed as executor-creditor and sue for the return of enough of it to pay the bills.

If they hold the money they are entitled to refuse to pay it over without an executor being appointed. Get detailed legal advice on all of this.

I have a child from a previous marriage whom I have not seen for years - his choice. Do I need to include this son in what I leave?

WHETHER you mention him or not he has a legal claim on part of the estate - not the house, but on the money, savings, moveable assets. If your spouse survives you, the son shares a third of those assets with your other children.

If you had elected to leave him a legacy he cannot have that plus his legal rights.

MY wife and I are separated and she is making a claim on our house. It is in joint names but I pay the mortgage, and she was the one who left.

SHE has a right to a fair share - usually half but can be more, or less - of the matrimonial property.

This will include the house unless you had bought it before you met her. But as it is in joint names she owns half of it.

The fact that she left you is not relevant. You paying the mortgage alone is, and there needs to be adjustment of division to account for that.

I HAVE been laid off at work. The manager has said the bank has closed him down, however I have not received any monies ie wages, redundancy pay, holiday pay or anything.

I now find out he has not paid any national insurance or tax for over two years.

IF HE is in sequestration or liquidation you as an employee have a prior claim over other creditors on whatever assets are left for your wages.

The Government also runs a scheme to pay workers unpaid wages and redundancy where the employer has no money to pay these. Check the site:

www.direct.gov.uk/en/ Employment/Redundancy AndLeavingYourJob/ DG_10026695

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