Dealing With The Challenge Of Creditors
When a Loved One passes away, members of the family typically have a lot going through their minds. During this time, it is easy to forget about wrapping up the affairs of the Loved One or the family can be overwhelmed by the process.
One probate challenge that can arise after a Loved One has passed away is dealing with the creditors of that Loved One.
What Is A Creditor?
A creditor is a person or an entity (often a business, such as a credit card company, or even the government) that is making a claim on the deceased person's estate. Typical claims would be charge accounts or auto loans. A creditor could also be a family member who claims that Mom or Dad had borrowed money from them. Or maybe one of the children is claiming that the estate owes them money because they took care of Mom or Dad in their last days.
The individual in charge of handling these matters is called a personal representative or executor. Since executor is a term that more people are familiar with, that's the term we will use here.
For many executors in this situation, it can be challenging to determine if a claim is even legitimate. And if so, many wonder how long a creditor has to file a claim on the estate in the Minnesota probate process.
According to Minnesota law, a creditor has to file a claim in the proceeding or they may lose their rights in that claim.
What happens if a creditor files a claim after this time has passed?
According to Minnesota law, a creditor has four months to file their claim after the publication of the notice of the appointment of the executor.
The Importance Of Proper Handling
It is very important that the executor properly handles all claims on the estate. The executor has what we call a fiduciary duty, meaning that he or she is personally responsible for the well-being of the estate (financial well-being). Proper handling includes managing the accounts, taking inventory, and keeping the estate safe from improper claims. If the executor or the family questions whether a claim is valid, they can demand a hearing so that a probate judge will decide whether the claim is valid and if the estate should pay the claim.
There is an orderly procedure for probate claims to be made by creditors and for a decision to be made on whether they are valid. It takes careful review and work by the executor and the probate attorney to protect the best interests of the creditors and the heirs.
Bill Peterson is a Minnesota Probate Attorney with over 40 years of experience as a lawyer. His firm, Peterson Law Office, is pleased to help sort out the intricacies of Minnesota Probate. For more information, please visit http://www.mnprobate.com or call toll free at 952-641-7312.
The contents of this article are for information only and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. For personal legal advice you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate law or estate planning.