What happens if someone is sued but was never first served with a summons?

UPDATED: Sep 23, 2014

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What happens if someone is sued but was never first served with a summons?

After my Grandmother died, my mother petitioned the estate for services rendered (i.e. helping my grandfather who had Alzheimer’s) with bills and home repairs. The estate accepted the bill which was itemized and issued a check to my mother in the amount of $7000. My mother lives in another state and my evil (I’m not exaggerating) aunt apparently took my mother to court in the state in which the probate occurred to sue to have the money returned to the estate. However, my mother never recieved a summons. Absolutely no service of process. She has phone records, numbers and addresses of post offices (in the case of certified mail) and email records. Will this be thrown out if we can prove that papers were never served and there was no attempt to serve them?

Asked on September 23, 2014 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the situation.  But I would advise that you speak with an attorney about this, even if just to consult on how you are to proceed.  you are correct that if the court can not obtain "jurisdiction" over your Mother then they can not hear the case.  Service renders jurisdiction.  But you need to see the affidavit of service and maybe have a hearing based upon that (in New York it is called a Traverse hearing) by dragging in the process server etc. Good luck.

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