It is virtually impossible to know everything about someone, including whether they had any outstanding debts such as unpaid utility bills, personal loans, credit card debt or inadvertently caused harm to another person that could result in a lawsuit. One way to find this out once and for all is to advertise by publishing a Notice to Creditors and Claimants as per Surrogate Court Rule 38.
Rule 38 requires that the notice be published in a specific form in a newspaper that is circulated in the area where the deceased lived. If the gross value of the estate is $100,000.00 or less, the notice must be published at least once. If the gross value of the estate is more than $100,000.00 then the notice must be published twice with a minimum of five days or more between publications.
The decision to advertise for creditors and claimants is solely up to the discretion of the executor. If the deceased already had debts that the executor was aware, did not keep good financial records, had a complex estate, had an estate that spanned across several provinces or across country lines or had unsophisticated or very young beneficiaries, then it would be a wise decision for the executor to advertise for creditors.
The number one reason to advertise for creditors and claimants is that doing so protects the executor from being personally liable for the debts of the estate. If the executor chooses not to advertise for creditors and claimants, he/she will be personally liable to legitimate creditors who bring claims after the estate is distributed. However, if the executor advertises in accordance with Rule 38 and disburses the estate after the deadline given in the published notice, any claim brought after that time is unenforceable unless the executor had notice of the claim.
Should you have any questions or need assistance with advertising for creditors or claimants, do not hesitate to contact our office. One of our Certified Executor Advisors would be happy to assist you. For a DIY Notice to Creditors and Claimants, click here.
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