One aspect of the California probate process is dealing with estate creditors and probate claims. First and foremost, California has specific laws on probate procedures including how estate creditors and probate claims are to be paid. The estate’s representative (executor or administrator) must notify all interested parties that the decedent has passed away so monetary claims can be made against the estate. The representative is required to provide written notice to known creditors and publish notices in newspapers for unknown creditors. There are many duties of the estate representative. One of them is to make sure the proper creditors are paid.
When Probate Claims are Filed by Creditors
Upon the creditor filing a claim against the estate, the estate’s representative must review the claim and approve or deny it. The representative may approve a claim in part and use the estate’s assets to pay the creditor or dispute the entire claim. If a claim is rejected, the representative must provide the creditor with notice. The representative must complete Form DE 174, Allowance or Rejection of Creditor’s Claim and attach a copy of the creditor’s claim filed. The forms must be served on the creditor and a proof of service (neutral third-party over 18 years of age must serve the form) filed with the court. The creditor must file a claim against the estate within 90 days of the rejection. A hearing may be held in which the judge will decide whether the creditor’s claims are valid.
If there are not enough assets to pay creditors, the estate is said to be insolvent. When this occurs, federal and estate taxes are to be paid first. Next, probate expenses and funeral costs are paid. General creditors are usually paid last. Any remaining assets will be prorated to creditors. Beneficiaries will receive no gifts from an insolvent estate.
It is not uncommon for probate actions to be started solely because a creditor wants to make a claim against an estate. An estate’s assets not protected by a trust are subject to probate. Contact A People’s Choice for more information about handling estate creditors and probate claims in California. We can help you probate an estate and settle creditor claims.
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