If a Creditor Does Not File a Claim in the Decedent's Estate in Alaska, Do You Have to Pay the Claim?

By Jennifer Williams

The right of a creditor to file a claim in an Alaskan probate proceeding is very specific, with little room for error. Once the court-appointed personal administrator publishes notice of the probate proceeding, the clock starts running. The deadlines for filing are strict and have very few exceptions. Creditors must guard their rights and follow the law in order to collect the monies owed to them or forever forfeit any right to collect.

The right of a creditor to file a claim in an Alaskan probate proceeding is very specific, with little room for error. Once the court-appointed personal administrator publishes notice of the probate proceeding, the clock starts running. The deadlines for filing are strict and have very few exceptions. Creditors must guard their rights and follow the law in order to collect the monies owed to them or forever forfeit any right to collect.

Notice of Claim and Deadline for Filing

Creditors are given notice of the initiation of a probate proceeding by publication. Once the court appoints an estate administrator, she must publish notice of the proceeding in a major newspaper that is circulated within the judicial district of the proceeding. The publication must appear once per week for three consecutive weeks to announce to creditors that they have four months from the date of the first notice to file any claims against the estate. Claims filed after the deadline, or not filed at all, are barred.

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Barred Claims

Even if proper notice of the estate probate is given, some claims may still be barred. If the right of a creditor to collect on a claim expired before the estate owner died, the claim is barred unless heirs with an interest in the estate agree to allow the personal representative to pay the claim and the estate has the money to pay the claim. Without unanimous agreement of the heirs and enough money to pay it, the claim is forever barred.

Deadline for Creditor's Claims -- No Proper Notice

If no notice of the probate administration is published, creditors are allowed to file their claims up to three years after the estate owner's death. This three-year deadline also applies in situations where notice is published improperly -- for example, the notice is missing required information.

Proper Presentation of Claim

Creditors must present a claim to the personal representative in the format required by Alaska statute for the claim to be accepted. A claim is properly presented when it is in writing, describes the debt and why it is owed, gives the creditor's name and address, and states how much is owed. The claim must then be delivered to the personal representative, either in person or by mail. As an alternative to presenting a claim directly to the personal representative, a creditor may file it with the probate court. If a creditor decides to present the claim in this manner, the court filing must be drawn up in the format required by the current probate court rules. Presentation is considered complete when the personal representative receives the claim, or as of the date of filing with the court.

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