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How are claims against an estate handled?

Not surprisingly, many New Jersey residents die owing various other individuals and businesses money. In some cases, these are well established debts like a medical bill or a credit card. In other cases, though, the debt may arise under more controversial circumstances.

For instance, the person who died may have been the target of a negligence lawsuit or some other litigation that could have led to the deceased's owing money.

Obviously, someone who has died can no longer be sued. Mortgage companies and others with liens on the deceased person's property can still move forward with enforcing those liens, but they can no longer sue the deceased individual.

Instead, any creditor will have to file a claim against a New Jersey resident's probate estate. Any claim has to be submitted to the estate's personal representative in writing and in a sworn statement. The person filing the claim has 9 months after the person's death in order to do so. In some cases, late claims are allowed.

After receiving a claim, as part of the probate and estate administration process, the personal representative has 3 months to decide whether to allow or contest the claim. If the claim gets allowed, it will get paid before a final distribution of the estate. Otherwise, the claim will have to be tried before a court.

Personal representatives who are faced with a claim against a New Jersey estate have to handle such matters carefully and properly. Likewise, someone who needs to file a claim against a deceased person will need to make sure to observe legal requirements. Seeking legal assistance may be important.

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