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

UPDATED: Jul 24, 2011

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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


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

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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