Can someone legally go after my mother’s estate for money owed by my father who passed away over 5 years ago?

My father passed away 5 years ago, his sister Wilma passed away 2 1/2 years ago, my mother passed away in 3 months ago of this year. My half sister, who was the personal representative of the estate of my aunt Wilma is now coming after my mother’s estate, saying that she found a hand written note (not notarized) saying that my father had borrowed money from Wilma at some point, and now is demanding $128,000 from my mother’s estate. My father’s Will was never probated, because everything passed directly to my mother upon his death. Can she legally do this? We were never made aware of this note.

Asked on September 1, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Maine

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your father's estate was never probated the representative of your aunt Wilma's estate can make a creditor's claim as to your mother's estate. The representative for your mother's estate probably should reject the claim based upon numerous defenses, amongst them the statute of limitations.

$128,000 is a substantial amount of money to be now claiming after the passage of many years. The representative of your aunt's estate will also have to demonstrate that your aunt supposedly made some loan to your father years ago that was never paid off.

The issue is whether or not the handwritten note is a promissory note signed by your father acknowledging a loan of money to him by your aunt, or is it some handwritten note by your deceased aunt mentioning some supposed loan. If the handwriting is by your aunt without any signature by your late father, the $128,000 claim seems dubious.

I suggest that your family retain an attorney regarding the $128,000 claim and to represent your mother's estate. Good luck.


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