In a wrongful death settlement are the benefits subject to the claims of the creditors of the estate?

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In a wrongful death settlement are the benefits subject to the claims of the creditors of the estate?

I settled a wrongful death case in MS; I live in AL. Is the total settlement subject to creditors claims in probate or is some of the damages exempt from creditors claims? Does the settlement even have to go through probate? The deceased also lived in AL; they just died in MS. It is a very small settlement and I am afraid it will be eaten up in these claims

Asked on July 24, 2011 Mississippi

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  I believe that the answer to this question is dependent upon the state law that would apply.  In Virginia, for example, I believe that the settlement of a wrongful death action  is exempt from attachment by creditors. I believe that this would also be the case in Alabama as I believe that the estate would be probated or administered in the state of Alabama here  (you have indicated that that is the state of domicile of the decedent prior to death, correct?).  I would double check with an attorney in your area to be sure about this all.  There is an estate proceeding that had to be opened up to bring the lawsuit correct?  Ask the attorney that helped with that.  Good luck.


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