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Debt: When I Die Having debt, What Happens to The Liability? Does It Go Away?

One of the hardest things to do in life is avoid debt. In the world today, we have so many attractive products that push us to spend beyond our means in addition to the common desire to own a home and car. This debt comes in many forms. Examples include a loan for a car, mortgage on a home, and credit cards. This debt can even include borrowing money from friends and family. Does this liability go away when I die? This article seeks to explain the process of handling debt at one’s death. The experienced trust and probate attorneys at Lee Kiefer & Park LLC, can assist in this complicated process.

Lee, Kiefer, & Park, LLC, is a team of probate and estate lawyers. The firm is located in Las Vegas and provides legal services throughout Nevada. The attorneys are knowledgeable and reputable. Managing partner Kennedy E. Lee and partner Matthew W. Park have been listed as preeminent lawyers by the widely respected Martindale-Hubbell lawyer rating service. Each of the founding partners has been selected as Super Lawyers and Legal Elite. All of the attorneys received their degrees from well-respected law schools.

The Process

This process is overseen by the Court and must be approved at multiple points. The first thing to know is that after an individual dies, notice must be given to all existing creditors. Once a Personal Representative is confirmed or appointed by the Court, the Personal Representative is responsible for issuing this notice. The law dictates how that notice is to be given. The individual creditors are entitled to notice of the death by mail. Further, in an effort to find all creditors, the public is entitled to be notified. To notify the public, an announcement is published multiple times at a staggered rate dictated by law. Proof of service must be given to the Court. With individuals, this is done through a Certificate of Mailing. An affidavit of publication is required for published announcements. If notice has been given and the time for public notification has expired when a Personal Representative is replaced, notice requirements have been satisfied.

Not every claim will be accepted as the law sets out strict requirements for how much time creditors have to claim their share. A creditor must file a claim with the Court Clerk within 90 days after the mailing of notice or 90 days after the first publication. If received by mail, the creditor has 30 days to file the claim. If a claim is not filed within the time requirement, it will be forever barred. If notice was not received, the court can still allow the claim.

If a claim is for $250 or more, the claimant must file an affidavit with the Court stating that the amount is a just demand, no payments have been made that are not credited, and there are no offsets. Every claim must include the claimant’s mailing address. If someone other than the claimant is signing the affidavit, an explanation must be give as to why. The rate and amount of interest must also be included. If there are mistakes in the affidavit, the Court may allow a correction.

When a claim is received, the Personal Representative decides whether it is accepted or rejected. See Duties of Personal Representative.  The personal representative has 15 days to decide after claims have been mailed and the time requirement for publishing the notice has been satisfied, The Personal Representative must sign each allowance or rejection. This notice must be attached to the claim and filed with the Clerk of the Court. If time runs out, the claim will be seen as rejected. Before the final account, a claim can be allowed that was rejected for lapse of time.

If a claim is rejected, written notice must be sent to the claimant notifying them of the decision. If the claimant disagrees, they can file suit within 60 days after the notice is filed with the Court. Within 20 days, the claimant can also ask the Court to look at the specifics of the decision. A decision can only be challenged if a claim was first submitted. No random claims can be submitted at that point. The law sets out other processes for cases of controversy and allowance for compromise. The process can get complicated.

Tid Bits to Know

Some claims have priority over other claims. For example, expenses of administration, funeral expenses, and expenses for a last illness will be paid before a family allowance or wages owed, Debts are debts of the estate and not the Personal Representative.

Sometimes, the Personal Representative is owed money. The Personal Representative must submit it to the clerk of the Court and the Court will decide whether to allow it or reject it. If there is evidence that it is true and correct, it must be paid as other claims would be. If rejected, the claimant can take action against the Court and sue.

Even more rare, a district judge is a creditor of the estate. If the Judge is administrating over the case, the Judge must appoint another district Judge to make the decision regarding the claim.


As you can see, the Probate process has many particulars for creditor claims. These steps have to be taken with exactness. It is vital that an attorney help you to make sure steps are not missed. Contact Lee Kiefer & Park LLC for a free consultation, either by using the online form or by calling 702-333-1711.

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The information provided on this website is not legal advice and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by use of the site or by submitting a contact form. None of the content on this website constitutes a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of any legal matter.

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