What You Should Know About Disputing Debt Claims During Probate

Once someone dies, their estate will be taken through the probate process to ensure that the person’s last will and testament is properly carried out, after which a debt claim could be made. It takes an average of 16 months for an estate to be properly settled, which could be extended if numerous debt claims are made. In the event that a debt claim was made during probate, you should understand what it takes to dispute this claim.

How Creditors File Debt Claims During Probate

When an estate is being settled, one of the most important aspects of this process involves making sure that all creditors that the decedent owed at the time of their death are paid. If the decedent owed money to numerous creditors, it’s possible for most or all of the estate’s assets to be claimed during probate. When it comes to New Jersey law, a creditor may make a debt claim on an estate up to nine months following the person’s death.

After the nine-month period has passed, the executor of the estate isn’t directly liable for paying the debt that the creditor has claimed. The amount of time that creditors have to file debt claims is the reason why probate can take a long time to be concluded. Any disputes will only lead to the probate process being extended until these disputes can be resolved.

Even though the estate executor isn’t liable once the nine months have officially passed, the creditor could still file their claim until all estate assets have been distributed to beneficiaries. However, the court that’s overseeing the probate process may not grant the claim if it isn’t made in time. In this situation, the creditor will need to show a good reason why they didn’t make the claim in the first nine months after the decedent’s death. Keep in mind that any debt claims must be provided to the estate executor in written form and under oath. The document is officially referred to as a statement of claim.

Is It Possible to Dispute a Debt Claim?

Once a debt claim has been made, you or the estate executor will have three months to dispute or allow the claim. This claim can be partially or fully disputed. It can also be partially or fully approved. Whether you partially or fully dispute the claim, this dispute will need to be sent to the probate court as well as the creditor. The creditor must have full details of why the dispute is being made.

What Happens When a Claim Is Rejected?

If your dispute is successful, this means that the creditor’s debt claim has been rejected. However, the creditor has some legal recourse once the rejection has occurred. After the creditor has been notified of this rejection, they can commence an action on the claim within one month. If this time passes without the creditor bringing an action to the court, the creditor will be unable to claim the debt they believe they’re owed. As a result, the probate process will likely come to an end at this point.

How Our New Jersey Estate Planning Litigation Lawyer Can Help

While many debt claims are valid and will likely need to be paid in part or in full before the probate process can be concluded, some claims won’t be valid, which is why it’s important that you understand your rights. If you believe that the probate process is becoming increasingly complicated, contact our New Jersey estate planning litigation lawyers so that we can provide you with the representation you need.

When you contact our firm, we’ll thoroughly examine every detail of your case to determine the best route forward. Our lawyers will complete all of the necessary paperwork and represent you in court if necessary. If a recently made debt claim is inaccurate, we’ll work hard to gather all of the evidence that’s required to prove that the claim should be rejected. The representation we provide will only come to an end once the probate process has been closed and the estate has been finalized.

Debt claims aren’t always accurate, which is why it’s important that you understand how to dispute claims when they arise. If you would like to have legal representation by your side during the probate process, call our New Jersey estate planning litigation lawyers at (201) 996-1200 to schedule your first appointment.