Michigan probate litigation: Creditor claims

When closing out an estate, there are certain obligations to creditors that the executor must handle. During probate litigation, creditors have the right to file claims against the estate in an effort to collect on any debts owed by the deceased. This week's column will address Michigan laws regarding such creditor claims.

Paying off any debts owed by the decedent is actually a big part of probate. When someone passes away, his or her personal representative is required to give notice to creditors so that claims may be filed in the allotted time frame. In the state of Michigan, creditors have four months from the time they receive notification in order to file claims to collect. Claims that are filed after that four month period may be denied payment.

In some cases, fighting creditor claims may be possible. If the personal representative believes a claim to be inappropriate, he or she may file an objection in court. If this happens and the creditor still wishes to pursue payment, a separate lawsuit will need to be filed.

Michigan law prohibits the distribution of an estate to beneficiaries until debts, taxes and any other expenses are addressed. Depending on the complexity of these and other issues that may arise during probate litigation, an estate may be closed out rather quickly or it may take time. Those who have questions about creditor claims or other problems that may arise during probate can seek assistance from an experienced attorney who will be able to provide guidance and support throughout the entire process.

Source: legislature.mi.gov, "Michigan Legislature: Estates and Protected Individuals Code (Excerpt) Act 386 of 1998 -- 700.3803 Limitations on time for presentation of claims.", Accessed on March 12, 2017