My mom’s only asset is the money she lent to her friend

She lent money to her friend before she died and she received a promisory note from that friend, which I have. I’m the only heir to my mom’s assets and properties. Her friend is refusing to pay back the debt, so I am planning to sue her. Can I sue the friend as an inheritor or do I need to become my mom’s estate administrator through probate? Ideally I don’t want to go through the probate process because that takes long. I want to file for no administration necessary petition if necessary.

Asked on December 24, 2018 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You would have to go through probate if you intend to sue her "friend" based on the promissory note: the probate process is the full process of collecting the assets of the deceased and recovering amounts due to them, paying any legitimate debts of the deceased, then distributing the remaining estate. You need to be appointed personal representative or administrator (either term may be used) of the estate and sue in the estate's name, which you can't do without administration. So you need to decide whether it collecting this debt is worth going through probate.


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