Creditor Claims Against Estate- What happens if the estate fails to file timely objections to a creditor’s claim in a Tennessee probate estate?

Posted on Jun 8 2013 10:12PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

The recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decision of In Re: The Estate of Rosalynn Karesh, No. W2012-00181-COA-R3-CV, 2012 WL 6562025 (Tenn. Ct. App. December 17, 2012) discussed the impact of untimely exceptions or objections to a creditor's claim.  The court noted that under T.C.A. § 30-2-314(a) the estate has a right to file written objections to any creditor claim that is filed against the estate.  Karesh at 4, 5.  This statute, T.C.A. § 30-2-314(a) specifically mandates that, “each exception shall include a reasonably detailed explanation of the ground or grounds upon which the person making such exception intends to rely.”  Karesh at 5. 


The court noted that the failure to timely file an exception to a creditor claim has consequences specifically, "failure to except to a claim amounts to an admission of its justness; and the claim becomes, in effect, a judgment against the estate at the end of the statutory period."  Karesh at 4 (citing, Needham v. Moore, 292 S.W.2d 720, 723 (Tenn. 1956)).  As a result, this is a very important requirement.


In this Karesh case, the estate only filed objections to a specific creditor's claims on the basis the claims were untimely but did not provide any specific objections to the actual merits of the claims. Karesh at 4, 5.  The estate did send a letter to the creditor discussing some objections but it was not filed with the Court within the appropriate time frame required under the statute.  As a result, the only objections timely filed with the Court were based on the alleged untimeliness of the creditor claim (which the court rejected).  As a result, the Appellate Court found that a written letter of substantive objections that was not filed with the court until after the time period passed for objections is not sufficient to properly raise objections to the creditor's claims as required under the statute. Karesh at 5.  As a result, the objections to the creditor's claim were barred by the statute and the claim was found to be valid.


This case shows how important it is to properly file substantive exceptions or objections to creditor claims against a Tennessee probate estate.  It is not sufficient to rely upon minimal descriptions of the exceptions to the claims.  Greater specificity and description of the objections must be provided in order to preserve the objections to the creditor's claims.  In the Karesh case, the estate should have filed a notice of the objection to the claim on the basis of untimeliness, but it should have also, at the same time, filed specific substantive objections to the merits of the creditor claim.


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TAGS: Creditor claims, Notice Requirements, Tennessee Probate Law
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
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E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com