On August 23, 2015

When probating an estate, one of the key steps that will need to be completed before the assets can be distributed to beneficiaries is satisfying all legitimate claims against the estate.

Here’s an overview of the types of claims most commonly made against estates in probate, a Denver probate attorney explains.

Here’s an overview of the types of claims most commonly made against estates in probate, a Denver probate attorney explains.

The term “claim” can be broad and may include a number of different types of outstanding debts, depending on the specifics of an estate.

Below is an overview of the most common types of claims that can arise for an estate during the probate process. Keep in mind, however, that:

  • Just because a claim is brought against an estate does not necessarily mean that the claim is valid.
  • Determining the validity of claims is important before any payments are made on these claims.
  • Having an attorney assist in the claims’ resolution process can be essential to personal representatives not breaching their fiduciary duties and, in doing so, becoming personally liable for making mistakes.

Common Claims against Estates in Probate

  1. Final arrangement costs – Among the most common costs for estates, this includes the expenses associated with burial, cremation and/or funeral costs for a decedent. Depending on the decedent’s final wishes, it can also include the costs of mortuary services, headstones, etc.
  2. Outstanding medical bills – These will specifically be any hospital or other medical bills associated with treating the decedent prior to his or her passing. 
  3. Estate administration costs – Any costs associated with administering the estate, including the costs of retaining a lawyer and/or accountant to assist in the administration process, will also come out of the estate’s assets. These costs, however, should be “reasonable;” otherwise, again, personal representatives could face allegations of having breached their fiduciary duties.
  4. Creditors’ secured and unsecured claims – While secured claims commonly include debts like mortgage loans and liens on property, unsecured claims typically include credit card debt and other lines of credit.
  5. Personal injury claims – Also referred to as tort claims, these can arise if the decedent may have caused an accident and a victim has sued the estate for damages.

Claims against an Estate: More Important Info

  • Given that settling claims is part of the probate process, so too is notifying creditors of the decedent’s death, which typically has to occur within weeks of the probate case being opened.
  • Anyone who wishes to bring a claim against an estate must do so within a specific time frame or lose out on the opportunity to be compensated from the estate’s assets.

Contact a Denver Probate Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

When you are ready to settle an estate plan in Colorado probate, you can turn to the Denver probate attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and probate needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

To discuss your options during an initial consultation, contact us today by calling (303) 741-2400 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Probate