If no probate is opened, how long does a creditor have to try to collect a debt from a deceased person?

UPDATED: Jul 2, 2012

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If no probate is opened, how long does a creditor have to try to collect a debt from a deceased person?

I was told that they have 1 year if no probate is opened and 2 years if probate is opened. My brother is on title on my home as tenants in common. He passed away 16 months ago. I had his wife and 3 adult children quit claim any rights to the property to me but haven’t filed anything yet. No liens have been put on the home. His primary residence is a mess with many liens. He is not on the loan, just the title.

Asked on July 2, 2012 under Estate Planning, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There are some exceptions, but generally a creditor needs to assert themselves within the first 120 days.  I am a little confused about how you are a creditor to his estate--did he owe you money in some fashion? 

Him being on your title as tenants in common does not make you his creditor--it just means that he may have passed away owning a share of the property, which would have passed to his heirs.  Since you had his heirs sign a quit claim they now do not own his share if they inherited it.  So you are good to go.

If he did owe you money, then you would be a creditor to his estate.  In that case see the dates below described in CA Probate Code Section 9100:

§ 9100: Creditors shall file a claim before expiration of the later of the following times:


    1. Four months (120 days) after the date letters are first issued to a personal representative (administrator/executor).
    2. 60 days after the date notice of administration is mailed or personally delivered to the creditor.


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