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WA-Probate > Probate Instructions > Administering the Estate > Allowing a Creditor's Claim

 

Washington Probate Instructions

 

 

Allowing a Creditor's Claim

  1. What Does It Mean to "Allow" a Creditor's Claim?

  2. Allowing Claims for $1,000 or Less

  3. Allowing Claims for More Than $1,000

  4. "Holding" Creditor's Claims (ie, Taking No Action about Them)

 

A.  What Does It Mean to "Allow" a Creditor's Claim?   

 

To "allow" a Creditor's Claim means that you have determined that the claimant's Claim:

To "allow" a Creditor's Claim does not mean:

Following allowance, you must:

Presumably, even in the case of solvency, all Creditor's Claims are required to be paid "expeditiously."  While Washington Courts have been silent on this matter, "expeditiously" might mean anywhere from:

Practically speaking, a creditor has very little recourse to force the payment of an allowed but unpaid Creditor's Claim before the Personal Representative determines to close the estate.

 

Now, let's move from "what does 'allowing' mean" to "how do you allow."

 

 

B.  Allowing Claims for $1,000 or Less   

 

All lawfully presented Claims for $1,000 or less are presumed to be allowed (RCW 11.40.090(2)), so for such Claims you really have only one decision (besides negotiation): Whether or not to pay it in full.  If you decide to pay it in full, following the instructions on Paying a Creditor's Claim.  If you decide not to pay it in full, follow the instructions on Rejecting a Creditor's Claim.  Consequently, the question of "How to Allow a Creditor's Claim?" largely concerns only Claims for more than $1,000.

 

Caution:  Due to the presumption stated in the foregoing paragraph, if you "hold" (ie, do nothing about) a lawfully presented Creditor's Claim for $1,000 or less, you will be considered to have allowed it.  Therefore, the burden is on you to actively reject it or eventually be obligated to pay it --- you cannot simply sit on it and hope that it will go away.

 

 

C.  Allowing Claims for More Than $1,000   

 

If you have determined to allow such a Claim:

If you are not allowing the full amount of the Creditor's Claim, go to Rejecting a Creditor's Claim and follow Steps 2 through 4 of those instructions.

 

Timetable:  Do all the above by the later to occur of:

 

C.  "Holding" Creditor's Claims (ie, Taking No Action about Them)   

 

For Claims of $1,000 or less:  As stated above, "holding" a Claim of $1,000 or less results in your being considered to have allowed it.  So "holding" a Claim largely concerns only Claims of more than $1,000.

 

For Claims of more than $1,000: By "holding" a Claim of more than $1,000, you are effectively putting the issue back in the claimant's lap:

Caution: If the Court substantially allows the Claim, you (meaning the estate) not only will become liable for the amount allowed by the Court but also may become liable for the claimant's reasonable attorney's fees to obtain the Court's allowance.  RCW 11.40.080(2)  Furthermore, if you had no reasonable basis for not allowing the Claim (eg, you had a personal grudge against the claimant and refused to allow the Claim out of spite or if you uniformly don't allow Creditor's Claims, thus favoring the Heirs and Beneficiaries over the creditors), the estate's Heirs or Beneficiaries may be able to obtain a Court Order shifting the claimant's reasonable attorney's fees from the estate to you personally.

 

 

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