Does the Estate have Obligations to Estate Creditors?
Yes, one of the main purposes of probate is to ensure that the decedent’s lawful debts are paid in an orderly fashion. It is the role of the personal representative to make a diligent effort to give notice of the probate proceeding to “known or reasonably ascertainable” creditors. This allows the creditors the opportunity to file claims in the decedent’s probate estate. The creditors who receive notice of the probate administration generally have three months to file a claim with the clerk of court.
Any interested persons, as well as the personal representative, can file an objection to the statement of claim. Any claimant who files a claim must be treated as a person interested in the probate estate in the probate proceeding. The claimant must be treated this way until the claim has been paid, or until a claim is decided to be invalid. All debts, if legitimate, of the decedent must be paid before the distribution of the estate or probate assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries can occur.