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The right way to sue a probate estate

A lawyer is suing Michael Jackson’s probate estate, according to a California probate lawyer

It looks like one of Michael Jackson’s former lawyers is suing his probate estate for $3 million. It will be interesting to see if this attorney actually knows how to sue a probate estate. There is a right way to sue a probate state. Unlike a living person who can be sued easily, a claim must be filed with a probate estate before it is sued if the basis for the claim is that the decedent owes a debt to the person suing. This isn’t true if the claim is the estate itself owes a debt (e.g. the executor breached a contract.)

Probate estates have been known to stop creditors cold. If the creditor plunges in by filing suit, that creditor will skip the necessary step of filing a claim with the probate estate. Yet, if the claim isn’t filed, then the executor of the probate estate has a perfect defense.

If the executor knows the creditor (or potential creditor) exists, then the executor should send that creditor a notice that informs them of the time they have to file a claim. I have done this in a number of cases where the creditor didn’t file a claim in time. (I guess some people don’t think the rules apply to them.) They were astounded to find their claim was denied when they finally filed. Some didn’t file a claim and were surprised to find the probate had been closed.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307

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