Speak promptly or forever lose your rights. Creditor claims are an intricate area of California probate law that fills chapters in legal treatises. Fail to comply with the nuanced rules and you lose your claim against a decedent’s estate even if liability is otherwise rock solid. But what is a creditor claim and when is it required?
A creditor claim is a demand for payment that must be filed with the probate court and served on the personal representative (e.g., executor) of a decedent’s estate within a specified timeframe. Presentment of a creditor claim (and its rejection) is required before a lawsuit may be filed against the decedent’s estate. Moreover, if there is no pending probate case in the Superior Court, the creditor may have to take the initiative by opening a probate proceeding so as to create a case within which to present a claim.