Whether you're posting for a client or you're an estate trustee yourself, publishing a Notice to Creditors on NoticeConnect.com is an important step to protect the estate trustee from personal liability.
We regularly hear from lawyers and executors asking about the best practices for advertising for creditors. In this blog post, I've compiled the answers to four of the questions I hear most often.
1. How long should my notice be posted for?
The rule of thumb is that a Notice to Creditors should give creditors 30 days to respond to the ad. Some notices gives creditors as long as 60 days.
There is no hard rule here. The choice of expiration date is at the discretion of the lawyer and the client. The larger and more complicated the estate, the more common it is to give creditors a little extra time to respond.
2. Can I edit my notice?
You can edit your notice with our Draft feature, but you cannot make changes after it's been published.
Some of our users like to create their notice and run it by a lawyer or a client before publishing. The Drafts feature is available to anyone who signs up for a NoticeConnect account (i.e. you can't use it if you are posting as a Guest).
Most of our users stick with our standard Notice to Creditors template, but some like to use their own wording. You can customize your template by going to My Account > Notices to Creditors, and clicking the Customize Notice to Creditors Template button.
3. Which files require a Notice to Creditors?
It's best practice to advertise for creditors for every estate administration file, to eliminate the risk of an outstanding debt coming back to bite the estate trustee.
But some estate trustees are certain that the deceased had no outstanding debts. In these cases it's important to have your client sign a Client Acknowledgement and Direction for your records. This serves as written and signed proof that the client did not want to advertise and acknowledge the risk of their decision.
4. "I'm an executor, am I allowed to..." ?
I get a lot of questions from estate trustees about other aspects of estate administration. And my answer is always the same: when in doubt, consult a lawyer.
There are lots of great resources online, but at the end of the day, legal questions should be fielded by legal professionals representing your interests.
If you're acting as an estate trustee, it is always a best practice to seek professional advice. A lawyer will walk you through each step and advise you on all your unique estate administration needs.