How to File a Creditor’s Claim
Torrance Estate Planning Attorney – 888.910.6652
When someone passes away while owing you a certain amount of money for
goods or services, you are technically a creditor, even if you are just
a family member or friend that loaned the decedent some cash. As a creditor,
you have the chance to file a creditor’s claim against the decedent’s
estate in an attempt to collect the money you are owed. An administrator
of a decedent’s estate is tasked with notifying all potential creditors
of the person’s passing but often overlook or forget debts owed
to individuals rather than companies or institutions. For this reason,
it is highly recommended that you take the initiative and seek to file
your own creditor’s claim.
At the Law Offices of James C. Shields, our Torrance estate planning lawyers
can make it easy for you to file a creditor’s claim and pursue the
money you are rightfully owed. With 20+ years of combined legal experience
and an intentional focus on
estate planning cases, we have the skills and knowledgeability needed to guide you through this
process from start to finish without delay or complication. You should
act quickly, as you might have only 30 to 60 days to file your claim before
a strict statute of limitations invalidates it.
Contact our firm
as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options.
Proving Your Claim to the Estate
People who file a creditor’s claim are usually challenged by the
estate administrator to prove the existence of the debt. For individuals
who are owed substantial amounts of money, this can be a difficult task,
especially if good recordkeeping was not kept. If the administrator does
not believe your claim to be valid, you may need to make your argument
in court and attempt to win a judge’s approval.
Articles that our Torrance attorneys can use to validate your creditor’s
- Receipts of transfers
- Written agreements – with signatures
- Testimonies of close family members of decedents
- Evidence of a loan being removed from your finances
You should attempt to organize your claim as you would a lawsuit. The more
thorough you are in preparation, the more likely a court will side with
your argument. If you are not certain how to construct a claim or what
evidential items will be useful, please do not hesitate to call our law firm at
Special Filings & Amendments
In many cases, a person with a valid creditor’s claim is not notified
of the decedent’s passing within the statute of limitations. When
this occurs, a California court judge may permit you to file your creditor’s
claim outside the usual time limits. It is highly recommended by the Superior
Court of California that you pursue late or “special filings”
only with the help of an estate planning lawyer.
Some claims might need to be amended after they are filed. For example,
you may want to amend your claim if another inspection of the decedent’s
financial record shows he or she owes you or your company more than originally
anticipated. In such cases, an attorney can also help you file an amendment.
You can generally amend a creditor’s claim if:
- Your first claim did not violate the statute of limitations for filings.
- You use the same court and filing process for the amendment filing.
- The amendment is filed within one year of notification of the decedent’s
passing, or before an order of final distribution is approved for the
Debt Priorities in Decedent Estate Cases
When you file a creditor’s claim, you may not have the first priority
when it comes to distributing the estate to pay off debts. There are many
forms of debts that will be paid first before the
probate court looks to individual debts owed to friends, family members, or individual
loan offices. Child support, spousal support, and tax debts owed to the
United States Internal Revenue Services are nearly-almost guaranteed to
be paid before any other debts. It is possible for a creditor to receive
no money whatsoever from a decedent’s estate if the estate is not
large enough to satisfy all outstanding debts.
Highly-Qualified Legal Representation at a Reasonable Cost
Our Torrance bankruptcy and estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices
of James C. Shields are committed providing our clients with top-notch
legal services at competitive pricing. When you come to us for help with
a creditor’s claim, you will be working directly with a team that
wants to see you fairly repaid for an outstanding debt. Get a
free case evaluation with our firm today to learn more about what you should do next.