VIC Debt Collectors Chasing Me for Deceased Brother's Debt?

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SimoneF

Member
8 November 2018
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Hi,

I have recently been contacted by a debt collector trying to recover a credit card debt my brother had.
My brother was not born in Australia. We grew up in Australia, but he moved to Malaysia about 12 years ago, and has lived there since. He did have an Australian bank account and credit card though - this is what I have been informed by the debt collectors.

He passed away several months ago at home in Malaysia, and had no assets to his name. I did find an Australian superannuation account with $400 in it (he worked here for a little bit about 15 years ago) There was no insurance with that (Ausfund)

The debt collection people are telling me that I have to pay the debt myself, or I have to do probate on my brother's deceased estate and declare it bankrupt?

Does that sound right?

Am I really responsible for my brothers credit card bill? And how do you do probate / and bankrupt an estate if the person did not live in the country, and had no assets in the country.

Or is the debt collector being dodgy, and hoping I won't know any better?
 

Rob Legat - SBPL

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
16 February 2017
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No, and no. You don't have to do any such thing. Not only is it likely that the debt is statue barred because it is so old, but executors/personal representatives are not personally liable for the debts of the estate, and you cannot be required to obtain probate.

If they call you back, I suggest you ask for all their details, take them down and immediately refer them to the ACCC: Report a consumer issue and Consumer Affairs Victoria: General complaint
 

SimoneF

Member
8 November 2018
2
0
1
Thanks very much for your advise Rob. I appreciate it.

I have bookmarked those links in case they call back.
 

Scruff

Well-Known Member
25 July 2018
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2,389
NSW
No, and no. You don't have to do any such thing. Not only is it likely that the debt is statue barred because it is so old, but executors/personal representatives are not personally liable for the debts of the estate, and you cannot be required to obtain probate.
In addition to what Rob said, if the debt collector has made any threat of enforcement action against you if you don't pay, then their conduct could also constitute blackmail.

To put it simply, they have no legal right to make any demand for money from you at all and being a debt recovery agent, they would have known that the time the demand was made.
 

kevin586

Well-Known Member
14 January 2019
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121
There is no law anywhere in the world that requires one person to pay the debts of another as a principle of law but around the margins in some circumstances it could be possible.

This law will come under attack and will likely change as I read that in the (US I think) some years ago, they were considering making student debts inter generational.
 

Tim W

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kevin586

Well-Known Member
14 January 2019
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There is a principle of law that one person cannot make one person pay another persons debts.

Typical DC tactic. Require them to define, in writing, which section and which clause of which law are they relying on for their authority to make such a claim?

They are just trying to frighten you.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
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Require them to define, in writing, which section and which clause of which law are they relying on for their authority to make such a claim?
Actually, don't even bother.
If the debt is not (in some way) "yours too" (such as if you were a co-borrower, or a guarantor),
then they can't touch you.
They are just trying to frighten you.
That is, frightening you into paying a debt you appear to have no part of.