OUTSTANDING CLAIMS AGAINST AN ESTATE
If you are acting as an Estate Trustee, you may have to deal with a person who decides they want to make a claim against the estate for money they believed the deceased person owed them, for any reason. Sometimes a person may only make a suggestion that they will file a claim but have yet to follow through on actual court documents. In any event, an Estate Trustee could be liable if they distribute the estate with the knowledge that the claim is a possibility and that person later files a claim.
There are ways to prompt a person who may have a claim against an estate to make the claim in a timely manner so the “winding up” of the estate, including final distributions, can be completed. Under sections 44 and 45 of the Estates Act, an Estate Trustee can file a Notice of Contestation with the claimant. After received this Notice, the claimant has 30 days from the date they were served to apply to court for an order allowing the claim and determining its amount. This application must include an affidavit sworn by the claimant as to the circumstances and amount of the claim against the estate. If the claimant does not complete this application within 30 days, or within 3 months if a judge has permitted an extension of time, the claimant is forever barred from making that claim against the estate.
This legislation provides some finality for Estate Trustees administering estates so they have solid limitation periods under which they can expect claims against the estate to be made. A Notice of Contestation is an unusual and little-used procedure in Estates law, but can be a useful one for an Estate Trustee who suspects that someone may want to file a claim against an estate they are administering but, are holding off in order to “hold up” the estate or for any other reason.
Feel free to contact us at any point for assistance or advice with respect to Estate Law, Estate Planning or Estate Administration or Estate Litigation. We may be reached at 705-435-4339 / 1-877-85LEGAL (1-877-855-3425) or contact us via email.