Challenges of Probate: Dealing With Creditors

At Vanguard Legal Group, our priority is helping our clients avoid situations like probate. Probate occurs when one dies without the proper estate plan in place. You can learn more about avoiding probate at one of our free estate planning workshops or by speaking with an attorney.

However, if you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of probate, you may find there are many challenges.

There are several obligations one has when officially handling a probate. One of the most important is interacting with the estate’s creditors. The person responsible for the administration of the probate must identify all of the deceased’s creditors.

Care must be taken in this area, as the probate official may be sued personally by creditors who are denied their claims, or indeed if unwarranted claims are paid from the estate. Most legitimate rejected claims result in lawsuits, with their subsequent costs and delays.

A correspondence, usually through U.S. Mail rather than email, must be sent to all creditors known to the estate administrator, of the fact of the probate. Any “reasonably ascertainable” creditors, such as an organization or person who has a lawsuit against the deceased, or anyone to whom money was owed, have 60 days after being contacted to make any claim against the estate.

After all valid claims have been identified, an accounting must be made to determine if there is enough money in the estate to pay all the claims against the estate. If the necessary amount is not found, the estate is then considered insolvent. In such a case, any beneficiaries will receive no funds at all, even if they are named as getting a particular piece of property, or an enumerated amount of currency.

As you can see, Probate can be a complicated situation. Vanguard Legal Group handles probates if they are required, however the best way to avoid this headache is to avoid probate in the first place.


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