There are two types of claims—small claims and all other claims. Small claims are claims less than $1,000.00 in principal amount. Pursuant to T.C.A. § 30-2-311, the personal representative can pay these claims so long as these claims are valid claims. Any debts over $1,000.00, the personal representative must require the claimant file a claim.
A creditor must file a written claim, in triplicate, with the probate court. An example can be found here. When any claim is evidenced by a written instrument, the instrument or a photocopy of the instrument must be filed. When any claim is based upon a judgment or decree, a copy of the judgment or decree certified by the clerk of the court where rendered must be filed. When the claim is based upon an open account, an itemized statement of the account must be filed. Further, every claim must be verified by affidavit of the creditor before an officer authorized to administer oaths, and the affidavit must state that the claim is a correct, just, and valid obligation of the estate of the decedent, that neither the claimant nor any other person on the claimant’s behalf has received payment of the claim, in whole or in part, except such as is credited on the claim, and that no security for the claim has been received, except as stated in the claim. T.C.A. § 30-2-307.
Once a claim is filed, the probate court will send a notice of the claim to the personal representative. When the personal representative receives notice of the claim, the personal representative must decide whether to except to the claim. Under T.C.A. § 30-2-314, the personal representative and any party interested in the estate, has 30 days from the end of the 4 month notice to creditor period or 60 day extended notice to creditor period, if applicable, to file an exception. The exception must include a reasonably detailed explanation of the ground or grounds upon which the person making such exception intends to rely. Once an exception is filed, the creditor has 30 days from the date the exception is filed or the expiration of the exception period to amend its claim. If a creditor amends its claim, the personal representative or any party interested in the estate has 30 days from the date the amendment was filed or the expiration of the exception period to file an exception to the amended claim.
If you would like to set up an appointment to discuss any probate or estate issues, call us at (423) 929-3000.