Important Facts Regarding Estate Creditor Claims

Estate settlement in New York requires that the fiduciary determine and resolve many difficult types of issues. Among the items Administrators and Executors need to finalize are claims against the estate.

Creditor’s claims can be in various forms. The more commons claims are outstanding credit card bills. Also, the decedent may have left unpaid medical bills or a mortgage. Business debts and unpaid matrimonial obligations from a divorce may also need to paid. The fiduciary has a responsibility to satisfy or discharge all claims. If a creditor is not satisfied, a fiduciary can become personally liable if he distributes estate assets before a resolution.

Of course, a claim can always be disputed. Estate litigation can take place in the Surrogate’s Court or other Courts regarding these matters. New York City Estate Attorneys are familiar with these matters.

Claims in an estate are often determined in the estate Accounting Proceeding. The fiduciary is required to provide all of the parties interested in the estate with an account of the financial transactions that occurred during estate administration. An Accounting Proceeding in the Surrogate’s Court provides a forum in which outstanding claims can be determined. Additionally, Article 18 of the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) allows for claims to be determined separate and apart from a formal accounting.

A recent Staten Island Estate case entitled Matter of Estate of Persing, Sr. involved creditors claims.   Persing was decided on August 7, 2018 by Staten Island Surrogate Robert Gigante. In this case the Court determined that the creditors were limited to having their claims determined under SCPA 1809 entitled “Proceeding to determine validity and enforceability of claims”.

Although the creditors wanted the estate Executors to file a full formal accounting, the Court felt that judicial economy only required a limited determination regarding the claims. The Court felt that a full accounting was not needed.

The investigation, analysis and resolution of a claim against an estate can be complicated. There are various procedures in the Surrogate’s Court to finalize these problems. I have represented many clients regarding estate claims. Call me now for a free review regarding an estate claim or an estate Accounting.

New York City Trusts and Estates Lawyer Jules Martin Haas, Esq. has been representing clients in Estate Administration and Estate Accounting proceedings throughout the past 30 years. He is available to help residents in many areas, including Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding these matters, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 for an initial consultation or e-mail me at

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