Updated: 11th March 2020
A sharp rise in the number of people ‘dying in debt’ has led Begbies Traynor to expand a specialist team across the region – headquartered in Manchester.
Experts at Begbies Traynor say the number of cases involving the insolvent estates of deceased people is rising, largely due to more ‘hidden debts’ or unpaid care home fees being discovered.
When the liabilities of an estate exceed its assets, it is classed as insolvent. Relatives can be shocked to discover their expected inheritance and even their own finances can be under threat.
Begbies Traynor is now pooling its resources between its Manchester, Liverpool and Preston offices to better serve clients and other private client professionals dealing with insolvent estates and court cases.
Paul Barber, partner at Begbies Traynor, said:
“Too many people simply assume that debts die in death. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, creditors can lay claim on assets including the family home.
“We are seeing a steady rise in the number of cases we are handling on behalf of family members of the deceased and/or the personal representatives of the estate who are duty bound to pay these debts off.
“We are also working with more creditors who are unsure where to turn in getting substantial debts repaid that have been racked up by someone who is now dead.
“By integrating our expertise across all three of our North West offices to form one single specialist service in this way we are able to better serve the demand for advice required in these emotive and often complex cases.”
The Preston office of Begbies Traynor was highly influential in two leading matters of case law in the field: Dick v Kendall Freeman  B.I.P.R 348 and Williams v Lawrence  B.I.P.R 1761.
Rebecca Clarke, chair of the Manchester Law Society Private Client Committee and senior associate at Clarke Wilmott, said:
“Solicitors acting as executors or advising personal representatives can face challenges when administering an insolvent estate and may, in certain cases, risk personal liability if they fail to comply with legislation.
“The rules are complex, and the possibility of personal liability is high if a mistake is made. We invited Begbies Traynor to share their insights with our Private Client Committee so our members can understand and avoid these risks.”
A Licensed Insolvency Practitioner with an MBA degree, Paul joined the Manchester office of Begbies Traynor in 2009. Prior to joining, Paul was working at Dawson White, the IVA provider for an OFT approved debt management company. Paul also spent 11 years at Baker Tilly with two secondments with Motor Retail lenders, including Ford Financial. He has extensive experience of all insolvency procedures and also has a background in property based on his RICS accredited BSc Land Management degree.