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Do creditors have any rights when someone dies?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2024 | Estate Planning and Probate

When an individual debtor owes a creditor money, they may make payments so slowly that repaying their full debt may seem impossible. In some cases, individuals die while they still owe a substantial amount of money to another person or a business.

Creditors owed money by someone who recently died in Tennessee may have questions about their rights. Thankfully, they do not have to abandon the expectation of receiving payment in full for the debt.

The estate may need to pay the debt

Creditors owed money by someone who dies in Tennessee may have the right to file a claim in probate court, and therefore they need to learn about someone’s passing in a timely manner. The law in Tennessee requires that the personal representative administering the estate provide creditors with notice of someone’s passing.

Typically, the representative of an estate should send written notice to all known creditors. They also need to publish notice of someone’s passing in a local paper to provide notice for unknown creditors. Both creditors given direct notice of probate administration and those who learn about it through publication or alternate means can potentially file a claim against someone’s estate. The estate must repay any and all eligible debts before beneficiaries receive assets from the estate.

If the representative of the estate improperly manages estate resources and then does not have enough set aside to pay someone’s debts, they may occasionally have personal responsibility for that oversight. Other times, there may be a cosigner who has responsibility after the death of the primary debtor.

Reviewing the origins of the debt and the status of someone’s estate can give creditors an idea of their options after a debtor dies.