I did some accoumting work for a client who passed away about 4 months ago. He owed me approx. $8,000.

Asked over 2 years ago - Houston, TX

I spoke to his son last month who told me to hold off and that soon all debts will be paid. I'm uneasy about waiting without knowing what is going on. I know the estate has a lot of money (valued at $7 million). I am concerned that if I do not take the proper steps I will not be paid for my accounting work. Is there a deadline to file my claim of monies owed to me? If so, when does the deadline start to run. I do not know the status of the probate. I do know he died without a will. Thank you.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Nicholas Abaza

    Contributor Level 12

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You can always open a creditor estate to force the issue

  2. James Brian Thomas

    Contributor Level 14

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As suggested, you might consider retaining counsel to seek an administration that you initiate as a creditor. It certainly forces the issue and compels the family and/or heirs to move forward in order to protect their own interests. Probate law for creditors in Texas is filled with some very unforgiving timelines and form requirements. Many estates are handled without these formalities, but a significant number of them are.

    Call me cynical, but you might be surprised at the number of beneficiaries who will actively seek for any and every way to avoid or diminish debts. It's money out of their pocket, and while it was never really theirs to begin with, it rarely stops them from taking advantage of every method available to maximize what they keep.

    Do yourself a favor and at least consult with a probate attorney near you.

    This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted to practice law in the State of Texas only, and make... more
  3. Sara K Yen

    Contributor Level 8

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . You need to determine initially whether there is or will be a probate opened for your client's estate. If he died without a will (intestate), then this is likely the process that will be used to distribute the estate assets, unless they were all held in a manner that avoids probate, such as joint with survivorship rights, or in a trust.

    If a probate is opened, there will be an "official" way that you can make a claim against the estate. Once your claim is made, depending on how it is handled by the executor/personal representative, you may be paid right away, you may have to wait a short while, your claim may be denied, or you may have to wait until the probate is closed and the assets are distributed to creditors and heirs.

    My suggestion is that you contact the son again and ask whether there is a probate open. As an alternative, you should be able to check with the court (or probate office, or whatever the Texas version of that is) to see if one has been opened. The answer to that question will direct your next step.

  4. Richard Norwood Evans II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . File a verified claim in the administration proceedings.

  5. Arthur Harold Geffen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . As Mr. Thomas point out, there are some arcane requirements for unsecured creditors of estates in Texas. For $8,000 I think I would hire a probate lawyer to review the estate file and make sure your claim is presented appropriately and timely. If not, it will be barred by a very short limitations period.

    Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the asnwer was a good answer tab below. Thanks.... more

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