From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Distributing a Bucks County Estate and Pending Creditor Claims
Most Recently Updated July 18, 2018.
“I am the administrator of my brother’s estate in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I have advertised the estate and paid all the valid creditors, but a neighbor of my brother has made a claim for $50,000 that I believe has no validity. Can I distribute the estate funds without paying him?”
Estate Litigation Attorney, Flora Novick – Distributing a Bucks County Estate and Pending Creditor Claims
Distributing a Bucks County Estate and Pending Creditor Claims
The quick answer is yes, but the right answer is that you should not.
As the executor, you are free to make “at risk” distributions. An “at risk” distribution is that may put your personal assets at risk. Your Bucks County Estate Administration Lawyer works hard to keep you out of trouble. If you ignore your brother’s neighbor, you could be putting yourself at risk. Pennsylvania is a rather creditor-friendly state. If you know of a creditor’s claim made within a one-year period after properly advertising the estate, then you are expected to address the claim. But, If you do not, and you distribute all the assets, the creditor can Petition to make you Account for your actions as administrator and explain why they was not paid.
Even if you convince the judge that the claim is invalid, since there are no estate funds left, the cost of assembling and defending your accounting may come out of your own pocket. Worse, if the judge finds the claim valid, you could be paying for all the court time plus paying the $50,000 claim yourself.
Your Best Move
The wiser alternative is to have an attorney experienced in Orphans’ Court litigation to file a Formal Account with the Bucks County Orphans’ Court on your behalf prior to making any distributions. In this accounting (paid for out of estate funds) 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?
Creditor claims litigation 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: Distributing a Bucks County Estate and Pending Creditor Claims
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining how to thwart a suspected false creditor claim. 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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