What debts need to be paid after a death?


Debts of a decedent are called "claims" in Surrogate's Court proceedings.  From New York Estate Administration, Chapter 5 Claims these two paragraphs introduce the topic of payment of claims:

"One of the responsibilities of a fiduciary is to pay all legitimate debts of the decedent before distributing the assets and to resist unjustified claims by asserting all appropriate defenses.  If he distributes the estate assets prematurely, he can be personally liable to the creditors. SCPA Article 18 governs the fiduciary’s payment of the decedent’s debts, and this chapter discusses Article 18: the fiduciary’s liability for claims, the ways of giving notice to creditors, the allowance and rejection of claims, the reservation of funds for contingent or unliquidated claims, priorities among claims, and compromises with claimants.

"Article 18 also contains rules for creditors, who need to be especially careful about timing. Besides the obvious statute of limitations that attaches to the claim itself under the CPLR or other statutes, which stops running when the claimant files a claim with the fiduciary, the claimant must also be aware of a seven-month statute of limitations and a 60-day statute of limitations5 set forth in Article 18."



  • Last Updated Jun 04, 2024
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