My father ran a business and is now deceased. There are outstanding invoices that have been sent to clients awaiting payment.

I've emailed the clients from my own email address stating I am acting on behalf of my father and requesting payment (I can't use my father's email address as the domain name has expired).

I've had no payment or response from these emails that were sent a week ago.

My question is, what is the best way to chase the clients to receive payment given that the owner is deceased?.

Extra info:

  • The business will not continue trading
  • The business is a Sole Trader in the UK
  • There are 4 invoices to different clients, the oldest from 5 months ago
  • 3
    I would suggest a letter from your solicitor may be the best place to start.
    – Jane S
    Apr 25, 2016 at 10:23
  • 3
    How do you have authority to collect on these invoices if he was a sole trader?
    – Kilisi
    Apr 25, 2016 at 10:24
  • 1
    What industry, are these businesses or private people? It might be best to just go visit them if they're local. I don't like your chances though, if your dad couldn't get them to pay in several months, and since he's no longer around so the threat of him not doing future work means nothing....
    – Kilisi
    Apr 25, 2016 at 10:39
  • 1
    @Kilisi: My father provided light haulage services for local clients. The businesses range from having 5 staff to thousands.
    – user27483
    Apr 25, 2016 at 11:01
  • 5
    I'm going to come straight out and give you a strategy you may not like it. Your mum (with you in attendance to bring up points like the link above) should go visit them with the invoice. I'd probably go out of my way to see a recently bereaved lady paid where I might tell the son to bugger off (business is business, no offence).
    – Kilisi
    Apr 25, 2016 at 11:16

2 Answers 2


I have two suggestions for you. Which one you pick, or even if you pick one at all is your call:

Method #1 the honest, straightforward way:

Wait for another week. Then mail the clients a certified letter with the invoices. Otherwise hire a debt collection agency or consult with a lawyer on how to make them pay.

Method 2# The heartstrings.

You mentioned that your mother controls the estate right now. Like Kilisi mentioned in the comments, you can have her show up in person. Its one thing to ignore a bill sent from a nagging person that you can relatively easy ignore, its another to tell a recently widowed still grieving woman that you wont pay to her face. Most people will probably just pay at this point to avoid looking horrible (and avoid the possibility that you go to a newspaper with this).


This .gov.uk source suggests that it's now down to the executor on behalf of the estate.

When someone dies, any money owed to them is counted as part of their 'estate' (everything they own or are owed less anything they owe). It's the responsibility of the executor (if there is a will) or administrator (if there is no will) to collect debts owed to the deceased.

The legal situation regarding business debts owed to the deceased - including rental and hire purchase agreements - depends on whether the business is a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a company. Sorting out business debts can be complicated, so it's important to get legal advice (see 'where to get help and advice')

It's probably best you get the solicitors involved rather than trying to collect yourself as I think you personally probably aren't owed the money rather the estate is.

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