Definition: Creditor

In the context of estate planning, a creditor is any person or entity that has a financial claim against a decedent’s estate. A creditor can be anyone to whom the decedent owed an obligation at the time of the decedent’s death, such as banking institutions, credit card companies, even friends who loaned the decedent money or the neighbor kid who painted the decedent’s house but did not get paid before the decedent’s death.

Creditors must bring their claims against a decedent’s estate within specific time periods which are specified by statutes. By following the statutory procedures for providing notice to the estate’s known and reasonably ascertainable creditors, the personal representative can significantly reduce the length of time during which creditors are allowed to file their claims.