Pursuing a claim against a deceased debtor’s estate

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2020 | Firm News

People die with unpaid debt every day, and if creditors such as yourself did not have a way to seek payment, many companies would not be able to stay afloat. We often help creditors to file claims against the estates of those who owe them money, and to take further steps to prevent the financial loss. 

The State Bar of Texas notes that the process for pursuing a claim cannot begin until the probate court has authorized an administrator or executor to settle the estate. That person publishes a general notice no more than a month after the court issues the letters testamentary. If the deceased debtor had a secured debt with your company, within two months of the death you should receive notice of it from the executor through certified or registered mail. If the debt is unsecured, then you may receive a permissive notice from the executor. 

You must send a notice to the executor after receiving the notice of the death, and you must do this according to the code’s specific requirements and within the statute of limitations. If you fail to comply exactly, the probate court invalidates your claim and the estate no longer owes the debt. The executor does not have to respond at that point. He or she will classify the priority of debt payment, and if the estate is not large enough to cover all the debts, then you may not receive payment. However, if it is a secured debt, you may be able to exercise collection rights such as foreclosure. 

Other remedies for collecting payment from a debtor’s estate may also be available depending on the details of the estate and the debt. You may visit our webpage for more information.