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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Pre-enforcement: consider the defaulter: deceased customers: county court proceedings (England & Wales)

Where you are satisfied that all appropriate action has been taken to collect payment and enforcement is appropriate, check in particular that:

  • applications have been made to all the personal representatives
  • sufficient time has elapsed to realise the assets of the estate
  • the estate has not been distributed.

If payment is not made:

  • complete the quality gateway checks
  • warn the personal representatives in writing that court action will be started on a date 14 days ahead if payment is not made
  • transfer the case to BEU to start proceedings if payment is not received by the specified date.

Action in BEU

You will find details of the particulars of claim in the DMB Guidance Gateway.

If neither payment nor a defence is received, the court will enter judgment:

  • for pre-death debts the judgment is made against the personal representative in a representative capacity and not against him or her as an individual
  • for debts relating to the administration period: the judgment is personal.

You should consider all enforcement options (except judgment summons) against the estate assets.

Information about the estate assets will help you determine your enforcement strategy. If you need further evidence you may issue an Order to Attend to the personal representatives, but the questioning must solely concern the assets in the estate and any property owned or jointly owned by the deceased before they died.