One of the most complicated matters a personal representative must handle is resolving creditors’ claims against the estate. An estate’s debts must be paid before assets are distributed to beneficiaries and heirs.
Working with an attorney can help you sort through creditor claims and preserve more of your loved one’s estate for the beneficiaries. An effective lawyer could save the beneficiaries thousands of dollars when dealing with creditor claims. Turn to a Colorado creditor claims lawyer from Peakstone Law Group, LLC for the assistance you need at this critical time.
We work hard to provide our clients with the dedicated legal advocacy and savvy strategies they need. We always treat our clients like family and never as just a case number. Let us guide you through the probate process and give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your case is in good hands.
Reach out to Peakstone Law Group, LLC, for a free initial case review with an experienced, compassionate Colorado creditor claims lawyer.
What Is a Creditor’s Claim?
A creditor’s claim refers to a legal claim made against an estate during the probate process seeking repayment of a debt the decedent owed during their lifetime or a debt incurred by the estate during the estate administration process. The personal representative of an estate must publish notice of a decedent’s passing and the opening of an estate, alerting creditors of their opportunity to file a creditor’s claim against the estate.
Alternatively, a personal representative may send written notice to creditors known to the representative. Creditors who receive direct notice of the probate have a shorter timeframe to file a creditor’s claim.
Once a creditor makes a timely claim against an estate, the personal representative must determine the legitimacy of the claim. If the personal representative rejects the claim, the creditor can ask the court to hold a hearing to determine the claim’s legitimacy. A court that finds a creditor’s claim legitimate can order the estate to pay the claim.
What Are My Next Steps If a Claim Is Filed Against a Loved One’s Estate?
There are steps you can take to protect your family’s interests after receiving formal written notice of a creditor’s claim against your loved one’s estate, including the following:
- Review the details of the creditor’s claim.
- Gather any documentation your loved one may have had regarding the claim, such as contracts, bank statements, invoices, or correspondence.
- Reject any claims that do not appear legitimate or have not been appropriately presented to the estate.
- Organize allowed claims according to the statutory priority order for payment.
- Calculate the total value of allowed claims to confirm that your loved one’s estate has sufficient assets to satisfy all claims.
- Reach out to a Colorado probate attorney from Peakstone Law Group, LLC. Our firm can evaluate the legitimacy of the creditors’ claims, determine which claims should be paid, organize claims into the required priority order for payment, and advocate on behalf of your loved one’s estate if a creditor demands a hearing on its claim. We will ensure that creditors follow the required process so that your loved one’s estate only pays valid claims.
Most Common Debts in a Colorado Estate
The debts commonly filed as creditor’s claims against an estate include the following:
- Credit card debts
- Outstanding personal loans
- Medical debts
- Unpaid state and federal taxes
- Unpaid alimony and child support
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Costs of estate administration, including legal and accounting fees
- Excess Medicaid or public assistance benefits
How Are Creditors Paid in Colorado Springs Probate Cases?
Allowed creditor claims must be paid according to the priority order outlined in state law.
The order of payments is generally as follows:
- Claims against property held by or in possession of the decedent as fiduciary or trustee
- Costs of estate administration
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Debts and taxes that have preference under federal law
- Medical expenses incurred to treat the decedent’s last injury or illness
- Debts and taxes that have preference under Colorado law
- Child support obligations due and owing at the time of the decedent’s death
- All other claims
Colorado Notice Time Limits and Statutes of Limitations
Creditors have limited time to file claims against a decedent’s estate. Under Colorado Statutes §15-12-803, creditors typically must file claims that arose before the decedent’s death within a year of the decedent’s passing. If a personal representative publishes notice of probate in the newspaper, creditors may have less time to file claims against a decedent’s estate, sometimes as little as four months from the date of the first newspaper publication of the creditors’ notice.
According to §15-12-801, if a personal representative sends a creditor a direct notice, the creditor must file their claim by the later of:
- The deadline set in the notice to creditors by publication, or
- Within 60 days of the mailing or delivery of the notice but no later than one year after the decedent’s death
Under §15-12-803, claims against an estate arising after a decedent’s passing must be filed within four months of the date that the claim arose, or for claims based on a contract with the personal representative, within four months of the date that performance was due from the personal representative under the contract.
Contact the Colorado Probate Lawyers at Peakstone Law Group, LLC
Losing a loved one is always difficult, and the probate process does not make that loss any easier. However, the right legal representation can make all the difference during this challenging time, smoothing the path ahead of you while honoring your loved one’s wishes. This steady presence and legal protection are the cornerstones of the representation that Peakstone Law Group, LLC, seeks to provide.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to speak with our Colorado probate lawyers about how we can help your family protect your loved one’s estate and assets from creditors’ claims. We look forward to meeting you and discussing how we can help you.