Financial debts can follow us anywhere in the world electronically, so they can be hard to not repay, that said, depending on certain aspects of the contract you have signed that ties you to the debt and a few laws, you may not have to pay certain debts.
In general, under the Limitation Act 1980 a creditor has six years (12 for mortgage shortfalls) to chase the debt, from the time of your last payment or acknowledgment of the debt. If a County Court Judgment (CCJ) has been taken out on you, the above rules do not apply as a there are no time periods for a CCJ. The only other place the limitation act does not apply, is to debt owned to the crown such as tax.
Debts You Are Responsible For
To start, here are some situational debts that you are responsible for. If it is something that law dictates you need to pay, then you must pay. This includes things like council tax and water bills. If you have signed a contract that in which you agree to pay someone or an organization back, then you are ethically and legally bound to the agreement, and you must pay the debt.
Examples of these types of contracts can be rent payments, credit agreements, tuition, and so on. By signing the agreement, you are held liable (meaning held by the law) to pay back the debt. If you are not held liable, you have the right to challenge the creditor. (The creditor is any person or organization that you owe money to.)
Situations Where Debt Can Be Cancelled
Now, depending on the debt you have, how old you are, and the circumstances of the contract, you might not have to pay back your debt. Typically, if you have not made a payment or had direct contact with the creditor in over six years, then you do not have to pay the debt. You will need to communicate and research your situation with people who understand your position to make sure that this applies to you.
Another way debt can be canceled is if there were problems when you signed the contract. This scenario involves being forced to sign a contract, signing a contract because you were coerced, or if the agreement was not clear to everyone involved in the contract. If the creditor did not check your finances properly to ensure that you could afford to pay off the debt, your contract can be considered invalid, and your debt erased.
Situations Where You Cannot Be Liable For Debt
If you are an additional, or secondary cardholder, banks and organizations cannot ask you to repay the debts of the primary or main cardholder. If you are under 18 years of age, the only debts that you must pay are debts of day to day finances. These things are food, clothes, and mobile phone payments. If you are under 18 and not sure if you are liable for a debt, call your local Citizens Advice to get clarification.
You are typically not held liable for the debts of a spouse, civil partner, or anyone you were living with if they pass, but some situations you could be required to pay them off, so if this is your situation, make sure to check with a financial advisor who knows what debts you shared with the deceased.