Coping with debt after your partner passes away

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If you have just lost your partner, the last thing on your mind will be dealing with debts. However, this is something you cannot put off. Speak to the companies you owe money to and try to resolve the matter in the most amicable way. If you are struggling with your finances, then you should opt for free, independent debt advice.

Talk to lenders and creditors

The first thing you should do is talk to the lenders to whom you owe money. Inform them of your situation and let them know clearly what you can afford to pay. Lenders can be understanding when personal tragedies hit borrowers. Some may agree to freeze the interest rate, or lower or suspend the repayments temporarily.

Notify the lenders and creditors in writing. If you think you need a temporary change in the repayment structure, don’t hesitate to request for it.

Debt repayment options

Some of the options include:

  • Informal arrangement: you can have an informal arrangement with your creditors to make regular payments over a particular period of time.
  • Debt management plan: this is a comprehensive plan that clearly identifies how much you have to repay. There is a set timetable for the repayment to which you have to adhere.
  • Debt consolidation: you can move your current debts into a single loan. This removes the headache of tracking individual debt and repayment.

It can be extremely stressful to have a mountain of debt after your partner passes away. However, by prioritising your debt, you will be in a better position to manage it. Things such as secured loans, taxes, utility bills, rent and mortgage are priority debts. Failure to pay them can have grave consequences. On the other hand, bank overdrafts, credit card bills, catalogue debts and unsecured loans are non-priority debts. If you don’t pay these debts on time, there are consequences, but not enough to leave you without a roof over your head.