Probate is a complex legal process that involves managing and settling a deceased person’s estate. One of the critical aspects of probate is addressing creditor claims. Understanding how to navigate these claims can help ensure a smooth and efficient probate process. At Weber, Carrier, Boiczyk, and Chase LLC, our experienced attorneys in New Britain, CT, are here to guide you through every step of addressing creditor claims during probate.

Understanding the Probate Process

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate, ensuring that debts are paid, and assets are distributed to the rightful heirs. This process involves:

  1. Validating the deceased’s will (if one exists).
  2. Appointing an executor or personal representative.
  3. Identifying and inventorying the deceased’s assets.
  4. Paying debts and taxes.
  5. Distribute the remaining assets to beneficiaries.

Importance of Addressing Creditor Claims

One of the essential duties of an executor or personal representative is to address and resolve creditor claims. This step ensures that all legitimate debts are paid before distributing the estate’s assets to beneficiaries, protecting the estate from potential legal disputes and financial liabilities.

Steps in Addressing Creditor Claims

1. Notification to Creditors

Public Notice

The executor must provide notice to creditors, usually by publishing a notice in a local newspaper. This public notice informs potential creditors of the deceased’s death and provides instructions on how to file a claim against the estate.

Direct Notification

In addition to public notice, known creditors must be directly notified. This involves sending a written notice to each creditor, informing them of the probate proceedings and the deadline for filing claims.

2. Reviewing Claims

Verification of Claims

Once creditors submit their claims, the executor must review each claim for validity. This involves verifying the accuracy of the debt amount and ensuring that the claim is legally enforceable.

Disputing Invalid Claims

If a claim appears invalid or incorrect, the executor has the right to dispute it. This may involve requesting additional documentation from the creditor or negotiating a settlement.

3. Prioritizing Claims

Classification of Debts

Claims are classified based on priority, with certain debts taking precedence over others. Typically, the priority order is as follows:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Estate administration costs
  • Secured debts (e.g., mortgages)
  • Unsecured debts (e.g., credit card debts)

Payment of Claims

The executor pays the claims according to their priority. If the estate lacks sufficient funds to cover all debts, lower-priority debts may not be fully paid.

4. Resolving Disputes

Mediation and Negotiation

Disputes with creditors can sometimes be resolved through mediation or negotiation. This approach can help avoid lengthy and costly court battles, allowing for a more efficient resolution.

Court Intervention

If disputes cannot be resolved amicably, the executor may seek court intervention. The court will review the claims and make a final decision on their validity and payment.

5. Final Distribution

Settling Final Debts

Before distributing assets to beneficiaries, the executor must ensure that all legitimate debts are settled. This includes paying off any disputed claims that have been resolved.

Distributing Remaining Assets

After all debts are paid, the executor can proceed with distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or state intestacy laws.

Role of an Attorney in Resolving Creditor Claims

Legal Guidance

Experienced attorneys in New Britain, CT, like those at Weber, Carrier, Boiczyk, and Chase LLC, provide invaluable legal guidance throughout the probate process. They help executors understand their duties, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and navigate the complexities of creditor claims.

Documentation and Filing

Attorneys assist in preparing and filing all necessary documentation, including notices to creditors and court filings. Proper documentation is crucial for a smooth probate process and avoiding legal complications.

Dispute Resolution

Attorneys play a vital role in resolving disputes with creditors. They represent the executor’s interests in negotiations and, if necessary, in court proceedings, ensuring that the estate is protected from unjust claims.

Efficient Probate Administration

With an attorney’s assistance, executors can manage the probate process more efficiently. This includes timely payment of debts, accurate distribution of assets, and minimizing delays and legal issues.


Addressing creditor claims is a critical component of the probate process. By understanding the steps involved and seeking professional guidance, executors can ensure that all debts are properly managed, and the estate is settled efficiently. At Weber, Carrier, Boiczyk, and Chase LLC, our attorneys in New Britain, CT, are dedicated to providing comprehensive support throughout the probate process. Contact us today for expert assistance in resolving creditor claims and navigating the complexities of probate.

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