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WA-Probate > Probate Instructions > Administering the Estate > Creditor's Claims of the Personal Representative


Washington Probate Instructions



Creditor's Claims of the Personal Representative

  1. Presenting

  2. Allowing


The Issue: Being Decedent's Personal Representative doesn't disqualify you from making a claim against the estate yourself, but due to the inherent conflict of interest, you can't approve your own claim on behalf of the estate --- the Court must do so after notice to all persons interested in the estate.


RCW 11.40.140 provides for strict provisions if you are a creditor of Decedent and wish to present a Creditor's Claim against the estate yourself:

Caution: By simultaneously wearing the two hats of creditor and Personal Representative, you are in an inherent conflict of interest (unless you are the the sole Beneficiary/Heir and the estate has sufficient funds to pay all other creditors).  Being in a conflict of interest, every action you take regarding your Creditor's Claim will be assumed to have been taken out of self-interest and will be subject to strict scrutiny with you bearing the burden of proof as to its fairness to the estate and its beneficiaries, heirs, and other creditors.  Follow the letter of the law.



A.  Presenting    


RCW 11.40.070, which sets forth the requirements for the lawful presentation of Creditor's Claims, includes as one of those requirements: "Serving on or mailing to, by regular first class mail, the personal representative or the personal representative's attorney a copy of the signed claim...."  Does this mean that if you, in your individual capacity, want to present a Creditor's Claim to yourself, in your capacity as Personal Representative, you are required to mail a copy of the Claim to yourself for the Claim to be lawfully presented?  WASHINGTON PROBATE suggests prudence:  Mail it, especially if there is any possibility that a third party (eg, a Beneficiary or Heir --- or in the case of insolvency, another creditor) might later complain or object --- mail yourself a copy and save the envelope including the postmark, so that you can evidence that the copy of your Claim was timely mailed.


A secure way of mailing yourself a document to prove that it was timely mailed is to mail it but, upon receiving it, not to unseal the envelope; you just file among your records the unopened envelope, knowing that it is readily available, has the postmark on the outside, and the document on the inside.  The quiet unsealing of the envelope and production of the document in Court has the desired effect.



B.  Allowing    


To obtain the allowance:

Timing: At least 20 days before the hearing.

Giving Each Possible
Creditor Actual Notice

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