When a person dies, the administrator or executor (fiduciary) of the estate has the responsibility of paying any enforceable outstanding debts of the decedent. Depending on what state you reside in, creditors may have to take certain steps prescribed by law in order to ensure they will be able to enforce their claims against the estate.
In New York, the fiduciary is not burdened with the task of seeking out and sending notices to all creditors of the estate. New York law puts the responsibility on the creditors themselves to exercise due diligence in sending out regular bills and following up with the fiduciary when they learn of the decedent’s death. Once a creditor is made aware of the decedent’s death, it is up to the creditor to send out a written notice of claim to the fiduciary.
The claim must be in writing and must set forth the amount due to the creditor and detail specific facts upon which the claim is based. Creditors must also make sure to commence their suit within the applicable statute of limitations. Depending on the nature of the creditors claim, this time period will vary.
Estate beneficiaries might be responsible for satisfying these debts from the estate money they received if the estate possesses insufficient funds to pay its debts. A creditor seeking payment from a beneficiary will have to prove that the claim will not be satisfied by the property being held in the estate.
To discuss your claim against a decedent’s estate, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (212) 233-1233.