Dallas, TX asked in Civil Litigation, Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee

Q: Can a small estate be sued.

My daughter died suddenly with few assets and no will. She also had no debts except those acquired surrounding her death. The ambulance sent one bill the first month after death but none since, the Hospital sent a couple and stopped, and the ER Physician group sent many and referred her to collections. All were sent notification of death and need to get legal status for her estate. After becoming affiant via a small estate filing in Chancery Probate, sorting her assets and paying funeral expenses there is not enough to pay but a small portion of her bills. No one has sent a bill to the estate. My choice would be to divide the remaining funds equally among the creditors. Do I have the option to decide or am I opening a can of worms by contacting them.

1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: You opened up the can by filing Probate. Hire a competent attorney to close this Estate. If no claims are filed within 1 year of death, then it will be great. But you have a fiduciary duty to contact all known creditors, and you can be sued yourself. Administrative expenses should be paid first, but the remainder will go to perfected creditors. This could have been avoided, and this is a public forum.

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