Assuming all other probate issues are satisfied, am I required to wait 2 years before filing the closing documents?
Elder Law Attorney
The assumption is a big one to ask an attorney who has not been working with you in the probate process. Have the taxes been paid? Is there reason to believe that there is a known creditor out there who has not gotten notice? Have all the assets been distributed and no one is complaining? I assume the remains have been settled and the process paid for..
Assuming there are no problems, I do not ask clients to wait the two years. I would only do that if there was some problem on the horizon that I did not want the PR to take the risk of shouldering. I think it is quite common to close a probate before the two year creditor statute runs. If I have not been involved in the probate process though, I would have no way of knowing if the underlying assumption is accurate although it very well might be.
Hope that helps.
Is the estate still open? Why not publish the notice, now? There have been occasions where we have had to file late notices. The statute of limitations runs from the time of filing. If you take care of this now, it should cut off any claims. This is one of those procedural things that, if you have a lawyer assisting you, you would have known about. You may also want to consult with a probate lawyer to see if there are any other areas that need to be addressed.
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Estate Planning Attorney
I would follow Attorney Millsap's advice.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.
Estate Planning Attorney
Filing and publishing a notice to creditors is cheap insurance. Two years is a long time for the personal representative to have to sweat it out. It's also a long time to ask the beneficiaries to wait to receive distribution. So if you do distribute the estate, and guess what...the beneficiaries have blown the money...guess whose head is on the block if a claim comes in?
Remember, any creditors of whom you could, with reasonable diligence, ascertain are lurking, require direct notice to receive the benefit of a shorter limitations period.
Finally, you sign a declaration when closing the probate saying that you've been diligent in looking for creditors and you've paid them or made arrangements. Just make sure you are able to be absolutely truthful to the court. They are not fond of deception!