State of California, Kern County: My father died last year on June 3rd, 2015. The newspaper "notice to creditors" (for creditors to make a claim against the estate) must be posted for 4 months before any disbursements can be made to said creditors -and inheritors. This newspaper notice did not get posted until Late April of this year (due to delays). My attorney says that, although no creditor can make a claim after the 1 year anniversary of Dad's death, which will be next week on June 3rd 2016, we still must wait out that 4 month newspaper ad before disbursing the funds from the sale of my dad's real property. This 4-month period won't end until August. Is my attorney correct? This seems highly contradictory, since that window for claims to be made will lawfully close on June 3rd. Do we really have to wait another 2 months to disburse the funds?
A creditor shall file their claim within four months after Letters are issued or sixty days after the date notice of administration is given to them pursuant to California Probate Code §9100. If a creditor has no knowledge of the administration of an estate they can petition the Court, pursuant to California Probate Code §9103, to file a claim late. In no instance shall a claim be filed more than one year after death unless there was fraud, or similar, by the Personal Representative.(Cal. Code of Civil Procedure §366.2).
Yes. In these circumstances the better practice is to wait until the close of the 4 month notice period. Your attorney knows the reasons for the delays in getting the notice published better than any attorney on here. If you go ahead and distribute, you as the personal representative could be liable to the creditors. So, listen to your attorney as he or she is looking out for the best interests of the estate.
Either your attorney is not explaining it properly or you are not understanding the process. The 4 month creditor's claim period starts once the court issues Letters to the personal representative. The court will not entertain a petition for final distribution until the 4 months from the date of issuance of Letters expires. A creditor does have 4 months from the date Letters were issued to make a claim or 60 days after actual notice. You must wait, sorry.
If your real question is when can you, as executor/administrator can make distributions, you'll need a court order. if Kern County is anything like Los Angeles, a court date, other than ex parte, for final distributions is about five months out. The attorney was probably preparing his petition and realized that no publication occurred, notice in the newspaper was provided and now he's waiting to tell the court that the four months have lapsed. The first answer appears to be spot on - I'd ask, how far out is the hearing date for the Petition for First and Final Account (unless waived), Payment of Fees and Request for Final Distribution, which is different than the statute of limitations on creditors claims.
Do you have a probate attorney with experience in probate? Sound like your attorney is confused on issues of procedure.
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