Is my father's estate liable if he owes money from her mother and brother? 20 Answers as of January 27, 2014

My father recently passed away leaving his property in a Trust. The vultures have come out. Surprisingly, it’s his siblings (our Aunts & Uncles). My father informed us that his brother owed the estate at $50K. The uncle never addressed any money due to him while my father was ill. He had plenty of opportunity since my dad has prostate cancer. The uncle expected to be a recipient in the will and upon learning otherwise, he searched through his old records and found copies of 2 promissory notes. They are dated 1995 with terms stating (in exact wording): ‘On Demand after date I promise to pay to the order of ‘the person’s name is listed’. Payable at (left blank). Value received with interest at 0% per annum. One note is to my uncle. The other note is to my dad’s mother who passed away in 1997. It gets better. The proof the uncle provided are only copies and have a deposition stamp dated 1996. These are notes produced by father during his divorce with my mother in 1996, showing that he owed money to his mother and brother. Is my father’s estate liable?

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Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
This appears to be a complex question and I recommend that you bring all the information you have and promissory notes to an attorney to properly evaluate your case. Also, more background information is needed regarding the facts you have set forth below.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 1/27/2014
Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
Suggest you obtain the services of a trust/probate litigation lawyer to sort through this problem and determine the liability of the trust for any past due debts owing by the deceased father; suspect the statutes of limitation to collect those notes have expired.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Hard to answer as your question is very unclear as to who owes money to whom. But if the money is owed by Dad to others, then the trustee should send out notice to creditors and follow the established procedure for paying claims. The attorney handling the trust administration should know how to do this.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/24/2014
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
The statute of limitations has run on the notes. You should consult a probate attorney to assist you with any so called debts.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/23/2014
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
Possibly. Discuss this with the lawyer who is assisting you with the trust administration. You don't have a lawyer helping with the trust administration? Well, now you do, because if you don't lawyer up it's going to cost $50,000, so do yourself a favor. The promissory notes may be valid, although there may be ways they could be defeated, especially since uncle and aunt don't have originals.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/23/2014
    Law Offices of Damian Boz, PC
    Law Offices of Damian Boz, PC | Damian Boz
    If the debt can be proved to be valid and enforceable, your fathers estate can be held liable. The question will revolve around authenticity and enforceability of the notes and the repayment terms contained in those notes. Its possible that the notes can longer be enforced because when the loan went unpaid no action was taken.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    It is difficult to say based on these limited facts, however, it is safe to say that any creditor has to file a claim with the court, if an estate is open, within the timeframe for filing claims against estate per notice opening the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    If the estate's representative elects not to accept the Promissory Notes as evidencing a valid debt, a court will determine the issue. The evidence you point out in your question is the evidence the court will need to hear.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    If your father never made a payment on the notes, they are likely barred by the statute of limitations. GET AN ATTORNEY. It will save a lot of time, money and headache.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    The Krone Law Firm, LLC | Norman B. Krone
    Your question is inconsistent. In one place you state that your Uncle owed money and in another you say that your father owed the money. Which is it?
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Mains Law Office
    Mains Law Office | Julie Mains
    No, based on the facts as you stated them, the statute of limitations for personal debts has passed. It is 4 years in California so he should have attempted to collect from your father over a decade ago.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    This is a complex problem that can't be addressed responsibly in this forum. The estate is going to need a good estate attorney with experience in this sort of dilemna.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    You need to get the attorney involved. I could make an argument that the statute of limitations has run on those notes and so are not payable. However, that depends on the state's law applicable to the notes. I tend to doubt the debts are either valid or owing (I think your dad may have been trying to scam your mom), but you won't know until a judge decides.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    Valid notes are debts of the estate. The original notes would be necessary for proof since the presumption is that the original is cancelled and destroyed when paid. Can we assume your father acknowledged the debt in the divorce proceeding? Your grandmother's estate is the proper party to make a claim on the note to the grandmother and the estate would have to be reopened. It may be too late to make that claim depending on when the estate was settled. The uncle would not necessarily be the only recipient of funds under the claim, the legatees under the grandmothers will or intestate estate would share in any funds recovered. Assets in the probate estate would be subject to any successful claim. Depending on the terms and nature of the trust the assets in the trust may not be liable for the claims against the probate estate. In such a case the assets deposited into the Trust before death may be protected.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    There is not enough info here to properly answer this question. Who signed the promissory note? Your dad? Or your uncle? I suggest you take this to an attorney so that he can get the full gist of the situation and give you a proper answer.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    The Law Offices of Cheryl David | Cheryl David
    I suggest you get an attorney. The probate clerk will make the decision, if you contest the notes and follow the process.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    If Missouri, if no payments have been made on the promissory notes in ten years, your uncle has a statute of limitations problem. See an attorney for legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Maybe. Sounds like there will be litigation. Speak with the attorney handling the trust administration. If there is not one, hire one. Best of luck to you.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    It is hard to say based on just the information given. Given the amount involved, I would strongly recommend having the documents reviewed by an attorney. The key issue is whether the debts were intended to be forgiven at death or to carry over to the estate. If your uncle actually loaned your father money, then he should be repaid, in my opinion.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    Probably yes; however, you need to do some investigation before making a conclusion. What were the loans for? Where are the original promissory notes? Any records of the loans being made? Any records of any payments? Are the notes too old to be enforced? Statutes of limitation?
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/23/2014
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