A number of hurdles must be cleared before the decedent’s estate can be distributed. These include appointing the executor or administrator and making an inventory and appraisal of the estate. Furthermore, the estate’s value can have debt. Consequently, the successors don’t always know what amount of debt is owed. This is why, before going any further, the probate code requires you notify creditors and deal with creditor claims.
Notifying Creditors: Requirements
The California probate code requires three separate publications in certain newspapers and within certain time limits. In many cases, the newspaper can be a free weekly advertising publication, and proof of publication must be filed with the court.
In the case of known or reasonably ascertainable creditors, the personal representative must give notice directly to the creditors before:
a) Two months after the date of issuance of the letters appointing the representative, or
b) Thirty days after the representative first becomes aware of the creditor, whichever is later.
One way to know of the creditor’s existence is if a demand or reminder of payment has been received from this creditor, and all notices should be filed with the court with proof of service.
There is a time limit for creditors to file a claim. If a claim is filed later than a specific time frame then it’s barred. The two time periods are as follows:
a) Four months after the date of issuance of the letters appointing the representative, or
b) Sixty days after the date a specific notice was given to that creditor. Whichever is earlier.
Finally, creditors must file their claim with the court and serve a copy to the personal representative.
Do you still have questions in regards to notifying creditors? We know this process can be confusing and difficult. Talk to San Diego estate planning and probate attorney Scott Grossman about your situation and the questions you have. Call our lawyers at (951) 683-3704 or (888) 443-6590 for your FREE 30-minute telephone consultation. Also, order our FREE book The Insider’s Guide to California Probate and Trust Administration.
AttorneyThe Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307