Who should pay estate debt

A and B were partners owning their home as tenants in common in equal shares. Before he died, they had decided to have work carried out on their home, which had more or less been completed when he died, but had not been invoiced to them. Had they received the invoice before he died, they would’ve paid this out of a joint bank account. In applying for probate, a half share of the amount owed was included as a debt of his estate. As the joint bank account passed by survivorship to B, should B pay the whole of the bill which has now been received, or should the house share be paid out of A’s? B’s only interest in A’s estate is that she has a life interest in his share of the property. The residue of his estate goes to his children from a former marriage.

Patrick Moroney

The debt is a joint debt of the husband and wife (as between H/W and the provider of the service each of H and W are legally liable for the whole debt).
In a similar vein to jointly held assets (50% of which would be included in A’s estate on death for IHT), 50% of the debt is that of A and is therefore a liability of A’s estate on his death and thus payable out of A’s estate (reducing IHT on the estate).

Malcolm Finney