Q: Is an estate still obligated to pay bills that were received after the hearing to settle it?
I am the administrator of my brother's estate who died in Feb. 2020. It went through the probate process last year and late in March the court held a hearing on the required financial report which was approved. This allows me to now distribute the estate to the heirs. A few days after the hearing, I received two bills from a debt collector which I had no knowledge of prior to (or after) me submitting the Report of Claims to the court. They do look like medical bills that were sent to the debt collector. Is the estate still obligated to pay these bills now that it is settled?
In Connecticut, if a claim is not presented to the fiduciary within 150 days from the date of the fiduciary's appointment, the fiduciary is not personally chargeable for any assets (i) paid in satisfaction of any lawful claims, expenses or taxes, or (ii) distributed to any beneficiaries, provided such payments and distributions were made in good faith (i.e., the fiduciary had no knowledge of unfiled claims) before such late-filed claim was presented.
That being said, the estate assets distributed to the beneficiaries are deemed available for the payment of any such claim until the applicable statute of limitations has expired.
I have never actually seen a case where a creditor who filed a late claim actually pursued the beneficiaries after assets were distributed.
Depending on the size of the claims, you may want to consult an attorney about whether to take any other steps to protect you.
Matthew A. Wiley agrees with this answer
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