Statute of Limitations for Creditor’s Claims
|Actual Notice Sent to Claimant||Applicable Statute of Limitations|
|Yes||The later of:
|Claimant was not there to be, or not expected to have been, found in your reasonable review||4 months from date of first publication of Probate Notice to Creditors|
|Claimant was there to be, and should have been, found in your reasonable review||24 months from Decedent’s date of death|
Whether or not to publish a Probate Notice to Creditors
Washington law does not require a Personal Representative to publish a Probate Notice to Creditors — the legislature has just made it highly advantageous to do so in most circumstances:
Publishing a Probate Notice to Creditors may allow you to significantly reduce the Statute of Limitations below 24 months after date of death.
It will allow you to reduce the Statute to 4 months after the date of first publication for any claim that would NOT have been expected to have been found in a diligent review of Decedent’s correspondence and financial records.
Whether or not to give Actual Notice
And Washington law does not require a Personal Representative to give actual notice to known creditors — again, the legislature has just made it highly advantageous to do so in most circumstances:
So long as you lawfully publish a Probate Notice to Creditors:
Giving actual notice (within the first 3 months after first publication) allows you to reduce the Statute to 4 months after the date of first publication additionally for all those claims that would have been expected to have been found in such a review.
A legal technicality: In an action by a creditor asserting a dilatory claim against you as Personal Representative, you will be presumed to have exercised reasonable diligence in your review. And in order to prevail, the creditor will have to show by “clear, cogent, and convincing evidence” that his/her claim was there and would have been reasonably expected to have been found in such a review, and that you failed to use reasonable diligence to find it. RCW 11.40.040(2)