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Probate Litigation: Common Issues with Creditor Claims

Mon Jan 17, 2022 | Probate |

If you are a personal representative or beneficiary of an estate with significant debt, you need to be mindful of the fact that creditors’ claims will need to be paid from the assets of the estates. This often comes as a surprise, as many people assume that the debts of the deceased simply disappear once they die. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and these claims can create significant problems in the probate process. if you are not prepared to deal with them. A Boca Raton probate litigation attorney can guide you through the process and address any potential issues along the way. 

Notice Issues

The personal representative is obligated by law to provide notice to all creditors that the estate is being submitted to probate. This obligation includes creditors that are both known and unknown. Failing to provide notice means that creditors can later object to probate and seek payment of their claims after assets have been distributed, which is an incredibly difficult situation to find yourself in. 

The notice process has specific requirements that must be followed, requirements that vary depending on whether the creditor is known or unknown. In addition, the personal representative is required to exercise due diligence to identify all possible creditors. Many creditor claims arise based on an alleged defect in providing notice. If you have been contacted by a creditor claiming that they haven’t received proper notice, you should contact a Boca Raton probate litigation attorney as soon as possible. 

Creditor Priority

When dealing with creditors’ claims, it is important to understand that not all claims are treated equally. Some debts have priority over others, meaning that those claims will be paid ahead of the others. Some claims may only be partially paid, while other claims may not be paid at all. As you might guess, creditors with inferior claims that may not be paid in full may object to the treatment of their claims. A Boca Raton probate litigation attorney can help you respond to these disputes and resolve them as quickly as possible. 

Valuation of Claims

Another source of disputes is the valuation of creditors’ claims. In some cases, the value of the creditor’s claim may be relatively straightforward, such as the unpaid balance on a loan. In other cases, determining the value of the claim may require some careful review and perhaps even a professional opinion. Creditors will often overvalue their claims or seek to recover fees that they are not entitled to. An experienced Boca Raton probate litigation attorney can push back on creditors who are overvaluing their claims so that the beneficiaries of the estate are receiving the distribution they are entitled to. 

Talk to a Boca Raton Probate Litigation Attorney at Ellis Law Group

Dealing with creditors’ claims can be one of the most complex aspects of the probate process and generates a significant number of disputes. A Boca Raton probate litigation attorney can help you manage the process to avoid disputes or respond to the ones that are unavoidable. Contact Ellis Law Group at 561-910-7500 to discuss your case and how we can help.