Recently, a case was decided in the First District Court of Appeals of Ohio that should make administrators and executors as well as creditors of an estate take notice.
There is a law in the state of Ohio that says that all claims from creditors must be presented within six months of the decedent’s date of death. The question that many attorneys pondered was what would happen if an administrator or executor wasn’t appointed until more than six months after the decedent’s date of death? Could the estate avoid paying the creditor?
That question was answered recently in In re Estate of Greer, in which the Court found that a creditor’s claim is barred if it is not presented to an estate within six months of the date of death, even if an estate representative was not appointed by the court until after that six months lapsed. The Court further found that if a creditor wants to preserve a claim against an estate, the creditor must ensure that an executor or administrator is appointed within that six month period. Moreover, the Court decided that an administrator or executor who pays on a creditor’s claim that is not made within the six month window would be responsible for getting the money back or reimbursing the estate him or herself.
The lesson for creditors is get an estate representative appointed within the six months after the decedent’s date of death to make your claim or lose it. The lesson for administrators and executors is do not pay on a creditor’s claim unless it is made to the estate within six months of the decedent’s date of death or you could be personally responsible to reimburse the estate.