Simon Says: Do you still have to repay if the lender dies?

This is the fourteenth in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.


This week's areas of Interest: Debt obligations


This week's keywords: Contract, Lender and Borrower, Death of Lender, Obligations to repay 



Simon Says: Do you still have to repay if the lender dies?



Jack, having recently proposed to his wife Jill, was rather out of money to hold his wedding ceremony and honeymoon.


His best friend Alex decided to come to the rescue and loan him a million Yuan. Alex was rather well off so one million wasn’t much to him.


Jack and his wife Jill had the best three months in their lives, travelling all around the world and trying all kinds of extreme sports, like skydiving and deep sea diving.


One year later, right when it was time for Jack to repay in full, Alex had a driving accident and died in the explosion. After the funeral, Jack had a discussion with his wife.


Jill suggested, ‘Let’s not repay 1 million to Alex’s wife, as Alex is dead anyways. Jack rebutted, ‘He’s my best friend. That’s immoral.’


Jill said, ‘He was so rich anyways. His wife has enough to live with.’


So does Jack have to repay the one million?





Prof Simon Says:


Yes, Jack still has to clear up the debt, and that is to repay to Alex’s heir, his wife.


Upon his death, Alex’s estate includes all kinds of debts, his house, his savings, and his assets and properties shall pass to his heirs unless there is a valid will with a specific intention on the contrary.  As a result, when he dies, all these shall go to his family. So unless Alex’s wife agrees to waive such rights, Jack has to pay up.



Simon Says - Episode 14 - Do you still have to repay if the lender dies



For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at, +86 13823677853 or by WeChat: simonhkchoi. 


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"This article was originally written in Chinese by Mr Huanyu Li and rewritten into English by Simon Choi."


Simon Choi

About the Author: Professor Simon Choi

Prof Simon Choi, solicitor and linguist, is an international lawyer, qualified to practise law in England & Wales and in Hong Kong, China. Simon graduated from law schools of the Peking University, the University of London and the University of Hong Kong respectively, with an in-depth knowledge of Chinese laws and common laws and with more than 20 years experience in China practice and international trade, investment, finance, merger & acquisition. He is an adjunct professor of laws at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Simon is the founding partner of Acme Ardent and can be reached at or +86 13823677853.

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31 May 2017

By Simon Choi

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