Guilford, ME asked in Estate Planning for Maine

Q: my dad's estate which is his house has gone into probate. waiting the 4 months to make sure no creditors. If we sell

the house before and put money away but a creditor comes back for more $ than the house sold is the estate liable?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Fred Bopp III
Fred Bopp III
  • Yarmouth, ME
  • Licensed in Maine

A: I am sorry for your loss. If the creditor received proper notice under 18-C M.R.S. § 3-801(1), Notice to creditors, and failed to present its claim within 4 months after the date of the first publication of the notice, then this statute provides that creditor’s claim is forever barred. Your question doesn’t say when the creditor “comes back,” i.e. during or after the expiration of the 4-month period, which makes a significant difference. Also, as a general rule, the estate is liable for the debts of the decedent, not individual family members (unless, for example, a family member was named on the account or guaranteed the obligation). Creditor claims are settled using estate assets. If there are insufficient assets in the estate to settle all the creditor claims, then they remain unpaid. If there are no assets remaining in the estate to pay off creditor claims, then creditors should be so informed.

Generally, the Personal Representative should wait until the 9-month-after-death creditor claims filing period expires before fully distributing and terminating the estate, unless he or she is very certain that all debts of the decedent and other claims have been paid. Importantly, a MaineCare estate recovery claim is not limited to being filed within the normal 9 months, so it is essential to examine whether a MaineCare estate recovery claim may exist before distributing the decedent’s estate assets.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.