How to Collect a Judgment After the Judgment Debtor Dies

Do you need to know how to collect a judgment after the judgment debtor dies? Death of judgment debtors might not make collecting judgment money impossible to accomplish. It all depends.

Of course when your judgment debtor is a natural person there is a real possibility that the debtor could die before the judgment is completely satisfied. You will be glad to know that the death of a judgment debtor does NOT automatically extinguish the debtor’s obligation to pay the judgment debt.

What is critical for the judgment creditor in a case where the judgment debtor dies is to determine these facts. First when did the debtor die in relation to the judge signing the order? Next, take note of the fact of whether the deceased debtor was the sole debtor on the judgment, or do other living debtors exist for your judgment.

If your judgment debtor was the only debtor in your judgment, and if the final judgment issued after the date on which your debtor died, the judgment is defective and you cannot collect the judgment money.

If your judgment debtor was the only debtor in your judgment, and the final judgment issued prior to the date of the debtor’s death, the judgment is good and you may possibly succeed in getting your money.

If the judgment is valid, you need to contact the executor or personal representative of the debtor’s estate. You will need to make a valid and timely claim against the estate of the judgment debtor. Basically the assets of the debtor, such as his property, estate or trust are liable for satisfying the decedent’s debts prior to any distribution to the heirs. Each state will have a statute of limitations for making a claim on a debtor’s estate. You will want to find out what the statute of limitations is so that you don’t miss the deadline.

Generally judgment interest will continue to accrue even after the death of the debtor.

What if your judgment has more than one debtor, and one of them dies. In this case you can proceed against the estate of the deceased debtor by filing a claim with the executor or personal representative, just as mentioned above. You can also continue to attempt to collect or enforce your judgment against any of the other judgment debtors.

Many times pursuing collection of a judgment against a deceased debtor, will end up not netting enough money to totally satisfy the judgment debt. If you only have one debtor, you take what you can get from the estate, and count yourself fortunate to have gotten what you did.

It makes you appreciate having a judgment against more than one debtor anytime one of them dies. It makes it easier to collect any judgment when you have options to collect from multiple parties.

If you have a judgment debtor to die, don’t give up. Just realize that it is the estate of the debtor, or other judgment debtors, who will be the sources of your judgment money.

Now that you’ve read this article, I hope that you know more than you did before about how to collect a judgment after the judgment debtor dies.

Hoping you collect all of your money judgment,

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