Lakeside, CA asked in Probate for California

Q: My mother sold her house and has since passed away. The new owners are saying that the septic tank is bad and suing me.

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in California

A: If they have any claim at all it is against your mother,not you. If they didn't present their claim in a timely fashion during the probate of your mother's estate, then their claim is expired.

Bruce Adrian Last
Bruce Adrian Last
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Pleasant Hill, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Unless you were on title to the property, and thus a seller, or it has been less than one year since your mother's death, the claim is likely barred. California Civil Code 366.2 states:

" If a person against whom an action may be brought on a liability of the person, whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise, and whether accrued or not accrued, dies before the expiration of the applicable limitations period, and the cause of action survives, an action may be commenced within one year after the date of death, and the limitations period that would have been applicable does not apply."

That statute essentially bars all claims against a decedent one year from the date of death. There are some exceptions, for example if a creditor's claim is filed in the decedent's estate, or claims from certain government entities.

However, you'll need to take the appropriate action to nip it in the bud. I'd talk to an attorney who does both civil litigation and knows probate law as soon as possible. Otherwise, the plaintiff can take a default judgement against you if you are served with the summons and complaint and do not answer or otherwise respond in a manner allowed by the code of civil procedure in the appropriate time.

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.