If there are insufficient assets to pay the claims, the personal representative should send a letter via certified mail notifying the creditor that there are not enough assets to pay the claim or that only a portion of the claim is going to be paid. The personal representative must decide which claims to pay and how much to pay depending on the priority of claims under New York probate laws. Certain expenses such as burial and funeral expenses, estate taxes, administration costs, including attorney’s fees and court costs and fees are considered priority claims and expenses. A creditor has the right to either accept a partial payment, no payment or to file a lawsuit against the estate if the creditor’s claim is rejected with the New York Surrogate’s Court. The Court will hear the matter and make a ruling.
A beneficiary is not liable or responsible for paying any of the decedent’s creditor’s claims or debts out of the beneficiary’s personal accounts. A creditor cannot sue, obtain a judgment or collect a debt owed by the decedent from a beneficiary.
It is recommended that a creditor who wants to make a claim against an estate speak with a New York probate and estate attorney to find out the creditor’s rights and legal remedies should the claim be denied by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
If you wish to speak to a New York estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.