From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Delaware County Estate Litigation
Most Recently Updated August 1, 2018.
“I am the executor of my mother’s estate in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. I have advertised the estate and paid all the valid creditors. However, a neighbor of my mother has made a claim for $10,000 that has no validity. Can I make distribution without paying him?”
Delaware County Estate Litigation
The quick answer is yes, but the correct answer is that you should not.
As the executor you are free to make “at risk” distributions, meaning a distribution that may put you personally at risk. Your Delaware County Probate Lawyer aims to keep you out of trouble, and if you ignore the neighbor you could be putting yourself at risk. Pennsylvania is a rather creditor-friendly state. If you, as executor, know of a creditor’s claim made within the one-year period after you properly advertised the estate, then you are expected to address the claim. If you do not, and if you distribute all the assets, the creditor can petition to force you to account and explain why he was not paid.
Even if you convince the judge that the claim is invalid, you will have to pay for the time in court, and as you distributed all the funds, this may come out of your own pocket. Worse, if the judge finds the claim invalid, you could be paying for all the court time plus paying the $10,000 claim yourself.
Instead, you are free to have an attorney experienced in Orphans’ Court litigation file a Formal Account with the Delaware County Orphans’ Court. In this accounting your attorney will explain that there is a claim and you question its validity. You will then have a hearing where the judge will listen to both sides and make a ruling. If you follow the ruling, then you are protected.
Further Estate Litigation Questions?
Defending against claims is only one of many Estate Litigation issues our firm addresses. Consequently, if you want to learn more, please read my more detailed article, Trust and Estate Litigation All You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: Delaware County Estate Litigation
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining how to defend against claims. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!
Let our Litigation Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced Litigation Attorneys. By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to put our 25 years of estate litigation experience to work for you.
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