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reclaiming debt for Probate when the debtor now lives overseas

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  • reclaiming debt for Probate when the debtor now lives overseas

    Hi,

    New here so apologies if this is in the wrong place or has been covered elsewhere (have run searches but can't find anything related).

    I'm an Executor for a deceased parent's estate in UK. That parent had a Financial Advisor in 2011 who borrowed a significant sum with interest, had to be chased for repayments, then moved from UK to Europe.

    The debtor was making irregular interest-only repayments (despite our parent being elderly, disabled, in ill-health, and their home under threat of repossession) up until their death last year (so we are within the 6 year threshold). We have been in touch with the debtor, who claims our parent waived the interest and that therefore his payments have taken more out of the debt than the full amount plus interest. He has no proof of this 'agreement', and it was never mentioned to us by our parent.

    The debtor offered to pay a small sum (less than a third of the debt, excluding interest) to close the debt, saying he was short of funds and was being forced into early retirement by his current (quite high profile) employer so didn't have the assets (we don't believe he has no assets - he's a financial advisor!). He then reduced that offer even further, and has since gone quiet.

    He was making the irregular payments from a high interest savings account in EU. The money remaining in that account is what he was originally suggesting we receive. We don't understand why he did not just pay that whole savings account to our parent when they were begging for financial help before they died, rather than this drip-feed which was not helping or honouring the debt. It appears he had no intention of ever honouring the debt.

    Has anyone experience in this area?

    Is it vaguely possible to reclaim debts in this situation? We do not have financial resources to start expensive legal action, or to hire someone to investigate his assets. We have tried contacting the Financial Services Ombudsman in the EU Country, but have heard nothing back.

    I doubt that it matters legally, but it certainly affects things morally - our parent told us there had been a sexual relation between them while the advice/debt was made, but we don't have evidence.

    Any suggestions welcomed. Thank you.

  • #2
    Hi Codi,

    Apologies for missing this post when you initially started the thread.

    Unfortunately there is no easy answer. It depends on a variety of factors.

    As executors or Administrators you have a duty to ensure all assets are valued and any necessary steps taken to maximise them which would include pursuing debtors.

    However you also have to be mindful of the cost of pursuing a debtor and whether once you've located them whether there are any assets to ensure the debt can be paid. Not only are you having difficulty in ascertaining whether this person has any assets but they also live out of the jurisdiction.

    What EU country are they in. Many do have reciprocal agreements so a claim could be commenced in the UK against him even if he lives in another Country.

    Was this person practicing as an independent financial advisor in the UK? If that is the case the Financial Conduct Authority may have some suggestions how to deal with the matter. It doesn't sound like the dealings between your parent and the IFA were very professional on the IFA's part. The FCA would be the regulatory authority who would deal with any professional misconduct. Was the organisation they worked for a regulated firm? As an employee if he did not advise correctly or was inappropriate then his old firm may have to take some responsibility for the issues you face now. You may find some help on the FCA website :- https://www.fca.org.uk/

    I think you need to be mindful of the sums involved. Of course if the amount is in the tens of thousands then it may well be worth pursuing if you establish the individual or their previous employer are liable but if we are talking about several hundred or a few thousand it may not be worth the cost and stress in potentially achieving not a great deal if the individual has no means of repaying.

    It may also be worth discussing your options with a litigation lawyer. Many firms offer a free half hour of reduced fee initial appointment to look at the bigger picture and offer initial options. Then you can get some idea of the cost of pursuing this and what avenues may be open to you.

    I hope this helps.
    I am a qualified solicitor and am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

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