Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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How To Make A Creditor Claim Against The Estate Of A Decedent In New York

If a New York resident owed you money, and then died, you are considered a creditor of the estate and will need to file a claim in the estate to pursue the money you are owed.  Some examples of common creditor claims in New York include personal loans, credit card debt, medical expenses, and unpaid bills.

As a creditor, you must comply with the New York laws concerning creditor claims in estates.  New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) sections 1802 and 1803 govern creditor claims.

What Is The Deadline To File A Creditor Claim In A New York Estate?

A creditor claim in New York should be filed within 7 months from the date of issue of letters.  The 7 month period begins on the date letters were first issued to any fiduciary of the estate, including a temporary administrator or a preliminary executor, and is not interrupted by any subsequent issue of letters.  However, the time during which there is no fiduciary in office shall not be counted as part of the 7 month period.

If a creditor of a New York decedent does not file a claim in the estate within this 7 month window, the fiduciary of the estate is not liable for any assets or moneys that he or she may have paid in good faith in satisfaction of any lawful claims or of any legacies or distributions to the legatees or distributees of the decedent before such claim was presented.

This means that a claim filed after the 7 month period can still be valid but it may have to be enforced against the distributees of the estate.  This makes getting payment of your claim more complicated, and less likely.

How Do You Make A Creditor Claim In A New York Estate?

SCPA section 1803 governs the form and verification of claims, as well as the service of notice of your claim.

Form Of Claim

Every creditor claim in New York must be:

  1. In writing; and,
  2. Contain a statement of the facts upon which it is based and the amount thereof.


In addition, the fiduciary may require the claimant to present proof by affidavit that:

  1. The amount of the claim is justly due;
  2. That all payments thereon, if any, have been credited; and,
  3. That the claimant knows of no offsets and no evidence of indebtedness and holds no security, except as specifically described in the affidavit.


Service Of Notice

The notice of the claim must be presented by delivering a copy of the claim to the fiduciary of the New York estate personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The certified mail must be addressed to the fiduciary at the place of residence stated in the designation required by SCPA 708 or upon the clerk of the court pursuant to the designation required under SCPA 708 whenever the fiduciary cannot be found or served within the state after due diligence.

SCPA 708 requires a fiduciary to file an acknowledged instrument stating the fiduciary’s domiciliary address and designating the clerk of court to receive service of process issuing from the court whenever the fiduciary cannot be found and served within the state after due diligence.

If a claim is not presented in accordance with these rules, unless the claim is based upon a decree or order of the court or a valid judgment rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction, the claimant is not entitled to enforce payment of the claim against the New York estate.

It is always a good idea to retain a New York probate attorney to make sure that your claim against a New York estate is properly presented.

Does An Estate Have To Pay The Creditor Claim?

No.  After a New York creditor claim is properly presented, the fiduciary has 90 days to either accept or reject the claim.

If the claim is accepted, then the claim is eventually paid.

If the claim is rejected, then the creditor can seek a determination from the surrogate’s court as to the validity of the claim pursuant to SCPA 1809.  The creditor does so by filing a petition showing the facts and praying that the fiduciary be required to show cause why the claim should not be allowed.


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