What can I do to collect the money for the damages to my auto?

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What can I do to collect the money for the damages to my auto?

My car was damaged in a hit and run. The local police found the other driver. He did not have insurance. Before we could go to court, he contacted me and wanted to pay for the damages. The court told him to pay at the court date. However, before that could happened, he passed away.

Asked on February 25, 2014 under Accident Law, Missouri

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

This 4 month clock is the time frame in which a creditor, who may have a claim for repayment of a debt, must file a claim against the estate in order to prevent being barred from collecting the debt. In other words, this publication period is a four month statute of limitations also known as S.O.L. and the common vernacular interpretation of SOL applies here. This four month notice period is very important to estate administration because in Michigan, unsecured debt that is a result of a contract, such as loans, and credit cards, has a statute of limitations of 6 years. So, from the time the last payment is made on a loan or credit card, if a debtor defaults on the debt, the creditor can take up to 6 years and still file a lawsuit to collect on the debt.

However, once a debtor dies and the PR publishes a notice to creditors, the creditor has only four months in which to file a claim against the estate or be forever barred from collecting the debt or a portion of it. Note that I have specifically left out mortgages (secured debt) because most people leave real estate to their children and the heirs take the real estate subject to the mortgage. If the heirs default on the mortgage, the mortgage company will just foreclose on the property and take it that way outside of the probate process.

As a general rule, if a creditor makes a claim within this four month estate administration notice period, the claim will be considered made "timely" and the PR will have to deal with it one way or another if the court "allows" the claim. However, if a claim is not made timely, meaning after the four month notice period, then the claim can be "disallowed". You just tell the creditor's representative, "sorry, you missed the claims period, now please go away." You might be amazed at how often this really happens.

Answer: You need to file a claim against the estate of the person who died.

 

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