Notice to Creditors in Texas Probates
Texas law requires the personal representative to provide notice to creditors. This notice starts the time limit for creditors to submit claims or have their claims time barred.
Publication of Notice to Creditors
Within 30 days of the issuance of letters testamentary (or letters of administration), the personal representative has to publish general notice for creditors to submit claims.
The notice must be published in any newspaper of general circulation in the county where the letters were issued.
If there is no newspaper in the county, the notice must be made by posting. The county clerk can usually assist with notice by posting.
The notice and publisher’s affidavit are then filed with the probate clerk.
Texas Comptroller Notice
The personal representative must also send the notice to the comptroller of public accounts by certified or registered mail if the decedent remitted or should have remitted taxes administered by the comptroller.
Notice to Secured Creditors
The personal representative is required to be given notice to all known secured creditors within two months of receiving letters testamentary (or letters of administration).
The personal representative then files the notice and return receipt along with an affidavit of mailing with the probate clerk.
The estate and/or personal representative may also be liable for any damages the creditor suffers if notice was required, but not provided.
Notice to Unsecured Creditors
The personal representative may give notice to unsecured creditors that their claims must be presented within four months of receipt of the notice.
This notice can be given by certified or registered mail at any time before the probate is closed.
The notice must include:
- The date the representative’s letters were issued,
- The address where the claim may be presented, and
- Instructions for how the claim is to be addressed.
This notice is said to be “permissive,” as the personal representative is not required to give the notice. The primary consequence of failing to give notice is that the creditors claims may not be finally settled by the probate process.
If the creditors are provided this notice and they do not submit claims within this period, the claims are forever barred.
Liability for Not Providing Notice
The personal representative can be personally liable for any damage a creditor suffers if the personal representative fails to provide notice. This does not apply to notice provided to unsecured creditors, which was discussed previously. This is also limited if the creditor was put on notice of the need to submit a claim by some other manner.
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