Probate is a complicated process with numerous steps. The executor has to fulfill certain obligations before they can distribute property to the beneficiaries of the estate. One of the most important duties of an executor is to settle accounts held by the testator.
In Minnesota, creditors can bring a claim against someone’s estate after they die. Anything from a hospital bill to a credit card balance will require payment before the executor can distribute assets to anyone.
How long does a creditor have to bring a claim against an estate, and how long does the executor have to wait before they start distributing assets?
Creditors must make a timely claim or lose their rights
An executor needs to take certain steps to notify creditors when they begin the probate process. When they have a list of creditors with known accounts, they should send each of those creditors a written notice about the death and the administration of the estate.
Formally publishing notice in the newspaper is also an important step so that unknown creditors cannot claim they had no knowledge of the estate. In general, creditors need to notify the courts quickly about their claim. Typically, claims not submitted within four months of notice publication will lose their rights to reimbursement. After that time, the executor may begin distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
It’s crucial that executors realize this rule only applies to private creditors and not to tax authorities or losses related to a civil lawsuit. Learning about the probate process can help someone serving as an executor take the right steps to protect themselves and fulfill their duties.