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Creditor’s Claim Exceptions

General Rule:  A Creditor’s Claim is required to be properly and timely presented for:

  • A debt of Decedent,
  • That is unsecured, and
  • That is reducible to money.

Exceptions: The Creditor’s Claim procedure does not encompass the following claims:

Costs of Administration

A debt incurred after Decedent’s death, for example, by the Personal Representative, is a “cost of administration” and is not subject to the Creditor’s Claim procedure.  Examples of costs of administration (so long as they are incurred after Decedent’s death):

  • Funeral or burial expenses.
  • Court filing fees;
  • Estate property storage fees;
  • Estate property insurance premiums;
  • Personal Representative’s commissions;
  • Personal Representative’s Attorney’s Attorney’s Fees;
  • Accounting fees;
  • Appraisal fees; etc.

Claims re Property Ownership

A claim as to ownership of, title to, or recovery of an asset in Decedent’s estate is not subject to the Creditor’s Claim procedure.  See Olsen v. Roberts, 42 Wn. 2d 862 (1953) (claim by Decedent’s ex-wife for her share of community property awarded her in divorce decree and included in estate’s Inventory); Compton v. Westerman, 150 Wash. 391 (1928) (claim by borrower’s Administrator for return of stock pledged as security for the loan).

Claims re Security Interests

A claim of a security interest in a specific asset in Decedent’s estate is not subject to the Creditor’s Claim procedure.  Examples:

  • A beneficiary’s interest under a Deed of Trust;
  • A mortgagee’s interest under a Mortgage;
  • A pledgee’s interest in securities; or
  • A perfected interest in specific tangible personal property, such as under a UCC financing statement.

Claims Against a Business Entity

A claim against a business entity (other than a sole proprietorship) in which Decedent had any interest is a claim against the entity (eg, corporation, partnership, limited liability corporation, etc.) and not against Decedent and is not subject to the Creditor’s Claim procedure.

Claims by IRS

A claim by the Treasury Department for unpaid taxes etc. is not subject to the Creditor’s Claim procedure.  See 31 USC § 3713(b); US v. Summerlin, 310 US 414 (1940).  Note that this exemption covers neither the federal government generally nor the State of Washington.  Estate of Rhodes, 196 Wash. 618 (1938) (Held: State’s claim for care of Decedent in state hospital and not filed within statutory period is barred).

Claims re Liability or Casualty Insurance

A claim involving liability or casualty insurance not exceeding the maximum amount of the policy’s coverage is not subject to the Creditor’s Claim procedure.  RCW 11.40.060  The legislature did not adopt the four-month bar for the benefit of the insurance industry.

Claims for Specific Performance

A claim for specific performance (ie, for other than money damages) appears not to be subject to the Creditor’s Claim procedure.  See McCullough v. McCullough, 153 Wash. 625 (1929) (claim to enforce Decedent’s oral contract to make a Will); Southwick v. Southwick, 34 Wash. 2d 464 (1949) (same general situation); Baird v. Knutzen, 49 Wn. 2d 308 (1956) (claim to enforce Decedent’s contract to convey land).