Can a creditor reopen a probate case to collect money if a wrongful death lawsuit is later settled?

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2012

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Can a creditor reopen a probate case to collect money if a wrongful death lawsuit is later settled?

My father passed away a few years ago. The probate case has been closed and I’m assuming the creditors wrote off the outstanding debt since there was not enough in the estate to pay it in full. We have since filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Can the creditors reopen the probate case and take the settlement money?

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Estate Planning, Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If all creditors have submitted claims with respect to the estate that you have written about, have had their claims paid in full and the estate is now closed, the creditors of the estate cannot legally reopen the probate case to make a claim for any settlement moneys arising out of the wrongful death of the decedent.

For your information, the wrongful death case of the decedent is based upon the damages of the statutory heirs of the decedent, not upon any damages of the estate. For example, if you were the decedent's child, the wrongful death action brought by you would pertain to your own damages.

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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