Creditor Claims

If you’re managing an estate as the appointed executor, one of your duties is to pay the debts of the estate. If the estate does not have sufficient funds to pay all debts, the debts are paid in a specific order.

Typically, the State of Ohio gives creditors six months from the date of death to file a claim against the estate. Executors must pay the debts—unless the creditor’s claim is invalid.

How do you know if all claims are valid? The easiest way to make sure you’re only paying valid debt is to work with a lawyer. James Bart Leonardi, LLC has vast experience navigating estate debt and creditor claims.

Determining creditor claim validity

Estate debts typically include unpaid medical bills, credit card balances, mortgages and unpaid utilities. Creditors can also file claims for unpaid services and personal loans.

There are several ways a creditor’s claim may be deemed invalid, including:

  • Too late to file a claim: Ohio gives creditors six months from the date of death to file a claim against an estate, even if an executor has not yet been appointed. An executor can shorten this time period by notifying potential creditors in writing. Creditors then have 30 days to file their claim, or be forever barred. If a creditor tries to make a claim against the estate after the deadline, the claim is considered invalid.
  • The claim wasn’t presented in writing: Ohio requires all creditor claims be made in writing. Claims can be sent to the executor, or simultaneously sent to the executor and filed in probate court, or sent via postal mail to the decedent’s address, as long as it’s received by the executor within the six-month time period. While most major creditors will automatically make a claim in writing, others may not.
  • The debt didn’t belong to the decedent: Finally, the debt may not belong to the decedent at all. Some debts may be assigned to the wrong person, or a product of identity theft, for example. In that case, you’ll likely need assistance refuting the claim.

Contact us for assistance with your creditor claims

When you’re having difficulty sorting out creditor claims against an estate in the State of Ohio, rely on James Bart Leonardi, LLC for legal guidance. We will determine if claims are valid and ensure they are paid, while rejecting invalid claims against the estate. In other words, we will guarantee the estate is administered properly. There’s no need to handle this complex issue on your own—call us today.

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