What happens if an Ohio resident owed you money and passed away before paying you the amount owed? You might have a creditor claim against the estate of the decedent. In Ohio, like most states, there are strict probate procedures and deadlines to follow when you have a creditor claim against an Ohio estate.
What Is A Creditor Claim in Ohio?
A creditor claim is a claim that you present in the estate of a deceased Ohio resident to be paid a debt that the decedent owed you before death.
Common examples of creditor claims are money owed for credit card payments, medical bills, and unpaid utilities. Creditor claims can also be filed for unpaid personal loans or unpaid services.
What Is the Deadline To File A Creditor Claim in Ohio?
Six months after death or 30 days.
Generally, a creditor has to present a claim within six months after the death of the decedent. Section 2117.06 of the Ohio Revised Code states:
(B) Except as provided in section 2117.061 of the Revised Code, all claims shall be presented within six months after the death of the decedent, whether or not the estate is released from administration or an executor or administrator is appointed during that six-month period. Every claim presented shall set forth the claimant’s address.
(C) Except as provided in section 2117.061 of the Revised Code, a claim that is not presented within six months after the death of the decedent shall be forever barred as to all parties, including, but not limited to, devisees, legatees, and distributees. No payment shall be made on the claim and no action shall be maintained on the claim, except as otherwise provided in sections 2117.37 to 2117.42 of the Revised Code with reference to contingent claims.
The 6 month time period can be shortened to 30 days if the fiduciary of the estate sends a creditor notice as set forth in Ohio Revised Code 2117.07. Using this section, the executor or administrator of the estate can accelerate the bar against claims of potential claimants by giving written notice to the potential claimant. Executors will often send this notice to known potential creditors. If the potential creditor fails to present their claim within 30 days of receipt of the notice, their claim is barred.
Can A Creditor Open An Estate In Ohio?
Yes. If a creditor is concerned that an estate will not be open within six months from the decedent’s death, a creditor can petition to open the decedent’s estate.
How Do You Make A Creditor Claim Against An Ohio Estate?
All creditors having claims against an Ohio estate have to present their claims in one of the following ways.
If an executor or administrator has already been appointed and no filing of a final account or a certificate of termination has occurred, the creditor claim can be presented:
- To the executor or administrator in a writing;
- To the executor or administrator in a writing, and to the probate court by filing a copy of the writing with it;
- In a writing that is sent by ordinary mail addressed to the decedent and that is actually received by the executor or administrator within the six month time frame.
If the final account or certificate of termination has been filed, then a creditor claim can be presented in a writing to those distributees of the decedent’s estate who may share liability for the payment of the claim. It is a good idea to present your creditor claim early in the estate administration. See How Long Does Probate Take In Ohio.
The rules for presentation of creditor claims can be found in Ohio Revised Code 2117.06.
Payment of Ohio Creditor Claims
After a creditor claim is presented against the probate estate of an Ohio decedent, the executor may require written proof in support of the claim and an affidavit of the claimant that:
- The claim is justly due;
- No payments have been made on the claim;
- There are no counterclaims against it to the claimant’s knowledge.
This rule and the requirements for the affidavit can be found in Ohio Revised Code 2117.08.
Once a creditor claim is received by the executor or administrator, he or she is supposed to allow or reject the claim within 30 days.
If the executor rejects the claim, the executor must give the claimant written notice of the disallowance of the claim. The creditor has two months from the rejection to bring an action on the claim. If the creditor does not commence an action, the claim will be forever barred. See Ohio Revised Code 2117.12.
How Are Ohio Creditor Claims Paid?
Accepted creditor claims are paid from the decedent’s Ohio probate estate.
If the Ohio probate estate has sufficient assets to pay the debts owed, all of the creditor claims get paid. If not, then the creditor claims get paid according to their class and priority. The order of payment is set forth in Ohio Revised Code 2117.25.