Creditors can seek payment from a deceased person's estate in California through the probate process. Probate is the legal process of distributing a deceased person's assets to their creditors and heirs.
To seek payment from a deceased person's estate, a creditor must first file a claim with the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative is the person who is responsible for administering the estate. Creditors can find the name and address of the personal representative in the Notice of Death, which is published in a local newspaper.
Creditors have 60 days from the date the Notice of Death is published to file a claim with the personal representative. If a creditor does not file a claim within 60 days, they may lose their right to collect from the estate.
To file a claim, creditors must complete a Probate Form DE-131, Creditor's Claim. The claim form must be signed by the creditor and must include the following information:
- The name and address of the creditor
- The name and address of the deceased person
- The amount and nature of the debt
- Any supporting documentation, such as copies of bills or invoices
Once the creditor has filed a claim, the personal representative has 30 days to review the claim and decide whether to accept or reject it. If the personal representative accepts the claim, the creditor will be paid from the assets of the estate. If the personal representative rejects the claim, the creditor can file a lawsuit against the estate.
Creditors may also use the following probate forms and codes to ask the court to order payment from the estate:
- Probate Form DE-140, Motion for Allowance of Creditor's Claim: If the personal representative rejects a creditor's claim, the creditor can file a motion with the court to ask the court to order payment of the claim.
- Probate Code Section 9260: This section of the Probate Code allows creditors to file a petition with the court to compel the personal representative to pay their claims.
- Probate Code Section 9390: This section of the Probate Code allows creditors to file a petition with the court to sell property from the estate to pay their claims.
Creditors should consult with an attorney to discuss their options for seeking payment from a deceased person's estate. An attorney can help creditors to understand the probate process and to file the necessary claims and petitions.
Here are some additional tips for creditors who are seeking payment from a deceased person's estate in California:
- File your claim as soon as possible. Creditors have only 60 days to file a claim after the Notice of Death is published. If you do not file a claim within 60 days, you may lose your right to collect from the estate.
- Keep copies of all of your documentation. Creditors should keep copies of all of the documentation that supports their claim, such as copies of bills, invoices, and contracts.
- Be prepared to negotiate. Creditors may need to negotiate with the personal representative to reach a settlement on their claim.
- Be patient. The probate process can be slow and complex. Creditors should be patient and understand that it may take some time to collect their claims.
Our dedicated Probate professionals can assist you in pursuing what is yours even if the person who owed you has passed away.