Rejecting a Creditor’s Claim
RCW 11.40.100 provides the requirements for rejecting a Creditor’s Claim. To satisfy these requirements:
- Complete the Creditor’s Claim that you received from the claimant.
- Complete and sign the Notice of Rejection of Creditor’s Claim & Declaration of Mailing form.
- Attach a copy of your completed Creditor’s Claim to a copy of your Notice of Rejection, and mail this document to the claimant by Certified Mail.
Caution: The Notice of Rejection is required to be delivered to the claimant and not to his/her attorney. Marquam v. Ellis, 27 Wn.App. (1980).
- Attach the original of your completed Creditor’s Claim to the original of your Notice of Rejection, and file this document with the Court.
If the Creditor’s Claim is for $1,000 or less — Do all the above by the later to occur of:
- 6 months from the date of first publication of your Probate Notice to Creditors, and
- 2 months from the date of your receipt of the claim.
If the Creditor’s Claim is for more than $1,000 — Do all the above by the later to occur of:
- 4 months from the date of first publication of your Probate Notice to Creditors, and
- 30 days from the date of your receipt of the claim.
“Holding” a Creditor’s Claim (instead of actively rejecting it):See Allowing a Creditor’s Claim.
Partial Allowance or Payment: If you are allowing or paying less than the full amount of a Creditor’s Claim as presented (ie, allowing or paying in part and rejecting in part), then complete the Creditor’s Claim by checking the box to the left of “I allow this Claim” and filling in that partial amount of the claim that you are allowing or paying.
If you are partially allowing a Creditor’s Claim but not simultaneously paying it, then send one copy of the partial allowed Creditor’s Claim to the claimant and file another copy of it with the Court.
If you are partially paying the Claim, then make out your check to the claimant in the partial amount that you are allowing and paying and:
- Attach the check to the copy of the partial allowed Creditor’s Claim going to the claimant and send that “copy of allowed Claim + attached original of check” to the claimant, and
- Attach a copy of the check to a copy of the partially allowed Creditor’s Claim and file that “combined document” with the Court.
You will also need to formally reject that portion of the Claim that you are not allowing or paying by following the procedure described at the top of this page (including Notice of Rejection form and notice by Certified Mail) as to its rejected portion.
Recourse of a Rejected Claimant
Caution: The effect of your rejecting a Creditor’s Claim (whether in whole or in part) is to put the rejected claimant to an election. In order to pursue the Claim following its rejection, the claimant’s only recourse is to file a lawsuit against you as Personal Representative within 30 days of notice of rejection or be barred. RCW 11.40.100(1) Consequently, rejecting a Creditor’s Claim effectively invites an immediate lawsuit. WASHINGTON PROBATE suggests prudence: Keep negotiating with the claimant towards an amicable settlement and reject the Claim only if you see no other reasonable alternative; and if you do reject a Claim, time mailing your Notice of Rejection such that you will have sufficient time and energy to respond to the lawsuit that will likely follow.