How to Make a Claim Against the Estate of a New York Decedent

A Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Claim Against a New York Estate

If you are owed money by someone who has passed away in New York, you may be a creditor to their estate. Debts can include personal loans, credit card debts, bank loans, unpaid service fees, medical bills, auto loans, and unpaid rent. To make a valid claim against the decedent’s estate, follow the prescribed legal procedures.

Step 1: Ensure Timely Presentation of the Claim

As a creditor, you must present your claim within seven months from the date the Surrogate’s Court issues Letters. Letters are court-issued documents that authorize a fiduciary, such as an executor or administrator, to manage the deceased person’s estate. These include Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, Temporary Letters of Administration, and Preliminary Letters.

Should you fail to present your claim within the seven-month period, the fiduciary will not be liable for any good faith distributions made before you presented your claim. In simpler terms, if the fiduciary distributes all of the estate’s assets after the seven-month period but before you present your claim, you cannot hold the fiduciary liable.

However, if you submit a valid claim within the allotted time, the fiduciary is liable and may be personally responsible if they distribute the estate’s assets before the seven-month period ends. The same holds true if you present your claim late but assets remain undistributed in the estate.

Step 2: Present the Claim in the Correct Format

Ensure that your claim against a New York decedent’s estate is in writing, contains a statement of facts in support, and specifies the debt amount. Deliver a copy of the claim to the fiduciary, either in person or through certified mail with return receipt requested. Failing to meet these requirements could make your claim unenforceable in court.

To minimize risk and ensure the proper presentation of your claim, it is advisable to hire estate counsel. Their expertise will guide you through the process and help you comply with the necessary legal requirements.

In conclusion, as a creditor to a New York estate, it is crucial to adhere to the prescribed legal procedures for making a claim. Ensure that your claim is timely and follows the proper format. To further safeguard your interests, consider retaining estate counsel to guide you through the process.

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