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Does a New York Estate Have to Pay Child Support?

When a non-custodial parent passes away, the surviving parent should check with the executor of the New York decedent’s estate to determine what provisions were made for the support of the decedent’s child. It is possible that there may be a life insurance policy or a trust set up naming the child as a beneficiary.  Provisions may have been made in the decedent’s will.  If the deceased parent was employed, then the minor child may be able to receive social security death benefit payments.

If it is discovered that there were no financial provisions made for the child, then the estate of the deceased parent is responsible for any past-due child support payments that may be owed to the surviving parent. The child support money owed to the custodial parent must be paid out of any assets of the estate.  However, certain assets are exempt such as homestead property, assets under a 401 (k), brokerage accounts, life insurance policies that name a beneficiary other than the decedent’s child and assets placed in a trust which name a beneficiary other than the decedent’s child and cannot be seized by the surviving parent/creditor.

Child Support Claims

In order to collect a debt, the creditor/custodial parent must submit a creditor’s claim for the amount of the support or past-due payments under New York probate statutes in order to collect the debt owed to them. If the custodial parent fails to file the claim within the specified statutory period, then the claimant will not be able to collect the past-due child support owed to them.

Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations laws are complex and a New York attorney should be consulted before making any decisions. Generally, the enforcement of child support arrearages is limited to 20 years from the date of default in payment whether or not a judgment has been entered for the debt. The 20-year limit applies to judgments entered after August 7, 1987. There is a 6-year statute for default on judgments entered prior to August 7, 1987. The 20-year statute of limitations also generally applies for child support payments that are entered as money judgments.

Collecting child support payments from a deceased non-custodial parent or defending a child support claim is complicated and requires the assistance of a New York probate and estate attorney. If you are owed child support or past-due child support by a New York decedent or you are the executor of a New York decedent’s estate and need assistance with a claim for child support, a New York probate and estate attorney can assist you with the matter. If you wish to speak to an NYC estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at 718-509-9774.