If a debt is secured against an item or asset, for example, a property, things can be more complicated.
Before working out the value of an asset, like your home, you must find out how it was owned and the value of the deceased’s share of the jointly owned asset.
If you’re joint tenants, where each person owns all the property, the deceased share of the property automatically passes to the other owner or owners. This means the property doesn't form part of the estate and can't be considered when paying back outstanding debts.
The surviving owner will continue to be responsible for making the repayments on the loan as normal.
If you’re tenants in common, you only own a specific share of the property. This means the deceased’s share of the property can be taken into account when paying back debts.
If the item securing the loan is not a property, similar rules apply. So, for example, if the asset is owned outright by two or more people, it can’t be taken into account.
If it is only owned by the deceased, even if other people have use of it, it can be used to pay off outstanding debts.
If you're not sure who owns the property, you can find out from the Land Registry for a small fee for properties registered property in England and Wales. Some properties aren’t registered and if this is the case, you’ll need to check the deeds.