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Advertising for Creditors
We should be in a position to distribute the balance of an estate within a few months. Before doing so, you must decide about whether or not to advertise for creditors.
The executor has accepted the duty to discharge from the assets in the estate the debts of the deceased. Once distributed, the assets of the estate may be irrecoverable, and if a creditor subsequently makes a valid claim against the estate, the executor can end up paying that claim himself (or more particularly, yourself). By definition, you cannot now know the size of such a claim.
To avoid this, it is necessary to advertise for creditors. We do this in two newspapers, the London Gazette, and a local newspaper. Such advertisements have to be in a certain form. They usually cost a little under one hundred pounds, but may be more. It is a proper expense for the estate to pay. You have to wait a further period after the advertisement to give creditors time to make their claim. Any claim notified after the end of that period may properly be rejected by you.
Often, the executors knew the deceased so well, that they are confident enough to distribute the estate without advertising for creditors. To do so leaves that clear risk that a claim may be made, and even the best organised person may have debts unknown to their family and friends.
Our advice is always that you should advertise. If you instruct us not to advertise, we will not do so, and recognise why you have taken this view, but it does not mean that we agree that it is sensible.
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