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Executors must notify creditors about the estate on time

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | PROBATE & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION - Estate Administration

Managing an estate after a loved one passes away is a substantial responsibility. When the deceased person has left a will, an executor is chosen to handle the estate. The primary responsibility of the executor in this scenario is managing the deceased person’s estate, including debts. This role demands careful attention, mainly because of the time-sensitive nature of some tasks.

Timely notification to creditors

The executor has to notify all known or possible creditors that they are administering the estate. This notification should occur within four months from when the executor assumes their role.

However, the executor may not have known about all creditors at the start. Some creditors may become known to the executor later. In such cases, the executor must inform them within 30 days of discovering them.

There are situations where the executor doesn’t need to notify a creditor. This happens when the creditor has already filed a claim or asked for payment.

Failure of notification

There’s another important time frame to consider. After the executor mails a notice or personally delivers it to a creditor, the creditor has 60 days to file their claims against the estate. This allows creditors to declare what the estate owes. If a creditor was unaware of the estate until after either of these periods—four months after the executor started their role or 60 days after receiving a notice, whichever is later—and the executor intentionally failed to inform them, the executor could face consequences. These can include legal penalties, such as court orders to pay damages and, in extreme cases, removal from their role.

To hold the executor accountable, the creditor must prove the executor’s intentional failure to notify. Additionally, they would have to file a specific petition within 16 months after the executor began their role.

Addressing insolvent cases

Even when an executor is held accountable, it doesn’t change the amount the estate owes to the creditor. The debt remains the same, and the executor is not personally responsible for paying it off.

If the estate has insufficient funds to cover the debt, it doesn’t mean that the executor must pay the remainder from their own pocket. In such a situation, the estate is insolvent, and there are specific legal procedures to follow.

For guidance on estate administration, consider seeking a legal professional. They can help provide more information on estates and debt.