Tips For Handling Creditors While Probating Your Loved One's Estate
If you are handling the probate process for the estate of a loved one who recently passed away, then it is vital that you know how to handle the creditors who file claims against the estate's assets. Knowing how to deal with the creditors ensures that you do not pay invalid debts and that you preserve the estate's money so it can then be paid out according to the probate laws. Since you are new to the probate process, below is a list of tips you can use to successfully probate the estate of your loved one:
Tip: Make Sure You Publish the Creditor Notice On Time
One of the first steps for probating your loved one's estate is publishing the creditor notice in the newspaper local to where they lived. When you file your case with the probate court, they will let you know how long the notice needs to be published and the required timeframe to do so. The timing is very important and if not done correctly, then it will delay the case.
Tip: Never Assume a Creditor's Claim Is Valid
When you receive a creditor's claim, then it is up to you as the executor of the estate to validate it. If you cannot find paperwork that substantiates the claim in the deceased's financial papers or mail, then it is the creditor's responsibility to prove that they have a valid claim. Never assume a claim is valid and seek legal council if you are unsure.
Tip: Pay All Debts Only After the Claim Process Has Ended
As requests for payment start to arrive for your loved one's outstanding debts, you may be tempted to pay them so that they will be completed. However, this is ill advised. Unless you are probating a very large estate with very small debts, you should wait until the claims period has expired to pay anyone. Once the claim period expires, then you should sit down and pay all of the estate's debts according to the applicable laws.
As you pay each debt for the estate, make sure that you keep excellent records. Keep a copy of the request, the original bill, and a copy of the check that you use to pay the bill.
Tip: Consult a Probate Attorney for Advice
Finally, while probating your loved one's estate isn't necessarily a terribly complicated process, there are some rules and laws that must be strictly adhered to. For this reason, you should always consult with a probate attorney at least once at the onset of the probate filing to ensure that you are correctly following all of the right steps.
For more information, contact local professionals like David R Webb Attorney.