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  1. A discussion with a friend left me realising that I've almost no understanding of the implications of (secured) debt on inheritance. The scenario we discussed can be summarised: A "Wealthy" individual has died and has left his estate to be divided among his 2 children. The estate comprises: £1m in liquid assets (Cash; shares - etc.) £4m in appraised value in real-estate [ 4 properties, say.] £3m debt secured against the real-estate. A naive assumption may be that each beneficiary will gain ~£1m... However, I think, the situation is more complicated. As one estate, the assets may be adequate collateral for cheap loans - but, this may not be the case if the portfolio is split... Another complication is that the will may not divide the liquid assets equally between the beneficiaries. What is the process in such situations? Is it normal for the liquid assets to be used to repay debt ASAP (leaving little buffer to keep up repayments on the remaining debt)? Do lenders (typically) accept the increased risk of two smaller portfolios without increasing their risk premiums on loans? What happens if the properties are illiquid assets? While this scenario is entirely fictitious, it strikes me that it is (probably) not very unusual. In these circumstances, does probate just take a "very long time"? Is it possible to determine which properties may be in such a situation?
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