Probate/Creditors Claims

Asked almost 4 years ago - Tacoma, WA

How long do the creditors have to make a claim if you placed a probate notice in the newspaper and sent individual probate notices to each creditor ? Do they have 30 days or 4 months?
Are your always vulnerable to creditors until the probate is closed?

Thank you

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Michael A. Aronoff

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . The statutory time frame for creditors to file a claim if 4 months from notice, If they don't file within that time, they may be barred from collecting. It is important for the Personal Representative to look carefully through all of the decedent's papers to attempt to locate potential creditors and send notice.

    Also, the claim must provide enough detail about the claim to be able to determine if it is valid. For example, a bill for $1000 showing nothing more, no detail, may be generally insufficient to prove the creditor's claim.

    Occassionally, an unknown creditor can surface prior to closing. Generally, they are given the 4 months, which can delay a closing.


    This is merely a post on general principles of law and is not intended to be legal advice.

  2. Thomas Alan Watson

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . How long do the creditors have to make a claim if you placed a probate notice in the newspaper and sent individual probate notices to each creditor? Do they have 30 days or 4 months?
    Answer: 4 months
    If the personal representative (1) filed the proper notice with court, (2) published notice once each week for three successive weeks in a legal newspaper in the county in which the estate is being administered, and (3) mailed notice to creditors known to the personal representative, then the creditor has the obligation to file a claim within the later of (i) thirty (30) days after receiving actual notice in the mail or (ii) four (4) months after the date of first publication of the notice, otherwise its claim is barred.

    As a side note, the only time the 30 day time period comes into play is when creditors that are known to the personal representative receive actual notice during the 30 days prior to the expiration of the 4 month time period or anytime after the 4 month time period.

    Are you always vulnerable to creditors until the probate is closed?
    Answer: No. If you have properly filed, published and mailed actual notice to all ascertainable creditors, then all other claims not properly presented within the time periods described above will be barred.

    Hope this helps.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER - The response does not form an attorney-client relationship. The response is merely the opinion of the author and should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response may change. Mr. Watson is licensed to practice law in the State of Washington and Arkansas. Responses are based solely on Washington law unless stated otherwise.

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