When you are owed a debt but the person who owes the debt dies, you may think that you have no options available to help you collect. The truth is that once a person passes away, you can pursue a claim against the estate to get back compensation for the debts owed.
Making a claim against a person’s estate is something you have to do very quickly, though, or else the time period during which you’re allowed to make a claim will pass.
2 options to collect a debt
There are two primary options that will allow you to collect a debt after a person has passed away.
- Using the court-supervised probate
- Establishing probate process
Each of these may help you collect the debt that you’re interested in getting back.
Court-supervised probate is the first option. With this form of probate, you need to file a claim with the superior court. Then, you need to perfect the claim.
The timeline for this paperwork is tight, and you need to have all of the correct paperwork in order for this process.
The probate process
Another option is to go to the court to ask for the probate process to begin. You can do this when no probate has been opened but you want to open a case against an estate.
You may have a right to collect debts owed
Seeking to recover a debt from someone who has passed away is very different from trying to get a debt repaid when the person is still alive. You don’t have as long to make your claim, and you may not be able to hold anyone else liable for the debt.
You have only one year from the date of the person’s debt to start your claim in court. You won’t be able to enforce your lien rights after this time has passed in California, so you need to act quickly. If you have questions or are unsure of how the process works, it may be helpful to speak with someone familiar with probate and the laws surrounding the statute of limitations.