Ohio Supreme Court Mandates Strict Procedures Upon Creditors of a Decedent's Estate
On April 19, 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court, in Wilson v. Lawrence, imposed strict requirements on creditors attempting to be paid from a decedent’s estate. Now, all claims must be in writing and presented directly to the executor or administrator within six months of the decedent’s death.
The creditor must clearly identify the executor (or administrator) by name on the written claim and on the claim’s envelope (or other packaging). Until Wilson, some probate courts in Ohio would accept creditor’s claims delivered to the executor’s representatives (such as accountants, personal assistants, relatives, etc.), so long as the executor ultimately received the claim. This is no longer permissible.
The six-month time frame is strictly enforced, even if no executor has been appointed. In that case, a creditor can file an application to appoint an administrator to receive the creditor’s written claim.
If you are an executor or creditor, you must be mindful of these requirements. If an executor wrongly pays a creditor’s claim, he or she will have breached its duty to the estate and its beneficiaries. Conversely, a creditor must properly present its claims to the executor or administrator within the six-month timeframe or be forever barred from collecting on that claim.
The attorneys in our Estate Planning, Business Succession, and Trusts & Probate practice group are here to help you navigate these requirements. Please feel free to contact us if you need any assistance.