I'm executor for my Mom's estate. Estate value approximately $10,000.00. Any day now I'm expecting one final medical bill for $26.73.
You've asked this question twice. I responded to your other (identical) posting.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
As the executor you should not make distribution until you are certain that all of the obligations to be paid in connection with the probate process and any debts are paid. If you are probating a will or intestate estate you or your attorney should have published a notice to any creditors who claim they are owed money by your mother or the estate. If you have not done that yet, it should be done as soon as possible. Iowa law requires that you send notice directly to any creditor you know is owed money and the published notice covers everyone else. The period to file claims ends 4 months after the last publication date so you cannot be sure you know about all the bills until then. Once you are sure all claims have been paid or cut off by the notice, you may still need to deal with inheritance taxes, court costs, clerk's fees and attorney and executor fees. Provision for payment of these amounts needs to be made before you make distribution. Finally, the last step in the probate process is the filing of a final report and accounting and getting that report approved by the court. Once the report is approved by the court all interested parties have 30 days to appeal that order. If 30 days go by and no one appeals, then you are finally safe in making the final distribution of the remaining assets without a significant risk of liability. You need to speak with a probate attorney to make sure everything that needs to be done has been done.
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