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Recent Amendment to Ohio Revised Code 2117.06: The Effect on Creditors and Their Claims

Ohio Revised Code Section 2117.06 governs the presentment of creditors’ claims in Ohio estates. A recent amendment to 2117.06 will be incredibly helpful to creditors and their attorneys in presenting claims to an Ohio estate, which will result in more claims being paid.
 

Prior to the April 2023 Amendment, that statute set forth three alternative ways to present a claim. It is significant to note that this must occur AFTER the appointment of an executor or administrator:

  1. To the executor or administrator in a writing. ORC 2117.06 (A)(1)(a)
  2. To the executor or administrator in a writing AND to the probate court. ORC 2117.06 (A)(1)(b)
  3. In a writing that is sent by ordinary mail addressed to the decedent and actually received by the executor or administrator (this method would most commonly apply for example where a credit card or other billing statement is mailed in the decedent’s name to their home address and an estate executor or administrator happens to gather the mail and see the bill). ORC 2117.06 (A)(1)(c)
This prior version of 2117.06 had been in place in Ohio for 20 years, if not longer. What has not changed is the requirement that claims be presented within 6 months from the date of death of the decedent. Also, that claim must be presented after the appointment of an executor or administrator. However, what has changed is a significant improvement in the 3 listed methods to present a claim.
 

As of April 3, 2023, Ohio Revised Code Section 2117.06 (A)(1) now sets forth these 3 alternatives:

  1. To the executor or administrator, or to an attorney who is identified as counsel for the executor or administrator in the probate court records for the estate of the decedent in a writing. ORC 2117.06 (A)(1)(a)
  2. To the probate court in a writing that includes the probate court case number of the decedent’s estate. ORC 2117.06 (A)(1)(b)
  3. In a writing that is actually received by the executor or administrator, or by an attorney who is identified as counsel for the executor or administrator in the probate court records for the estate of the decedent, within the appropriate time specified in division (B) of this section and without regard to whom the writing is addressed. ORC 2117.06 (A)(1)(c)

Here is the significance of each change to creditors and their attorneys presenting claims:

  • ORC 2117.06 (A)(1)(a) – if there is an attorney for the executor or administrator listed on the probate court records a “writing” sent only to that attorney will be a valid presentment of a claim.
  • ORC 2117.06 (A)(1)(b) – the prior version of this section required the claim be sent BOTH to the executor or administrator AND the Court. The amendment only requires it be sent/filed with the Court.
  • ORC 2117.06 (A)(1)(c) – the amendment removes the ordinary mail requirement and also the requirement that the writing be addressed to the decedent. Now any writing regardless of how it is addressed that is timely received by the executor or administrator OR THEIR ATTORNEY will be a valid claim.
For those of us that are frequent claim filers, these changes are exciting and refreshing. The whole purpose of the creditor claim process is to put the Estate on notice of the debt. These technical changes add notice to an attorney being the equivalent of a notice to their client (which is consistent with Ohio Case Law under the prior statute). It also recognizes that the filing of a claim with the Probate Court alone is enough to be a valid claim.
 
With all of that being in place, we continue to recommend sending claims to the executor or administrator and their attorney, then file them with the Probate Court. This maximizes notice to everyone including the Court. With this being said, it’s vital to be aware of the nuances in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.
 
Please also be aware of Ohio’s 6-month statute of limitations in the filing of claims. Should a claim be rejected or denied by the Estate, there is a 2-month statute of limitations to file a lawsuit on that rejected claim – a process that the Weltman firm has had great success in. Way too many creditors and their vendors take no action on rejected claims. This results in zero recoveries when most of these estates have the funds to pay your claim.
Our firm is also in the process of reviewing the current probate claim filing laws in all 50 States and should other similar revisions be discovered we will issue future Weltman Alerts with that information.
 
If you have additional questions on this or any other Probate Recovery topic, feel free to reach out to Probate Recovery Group chair attorney Scott Weltman, attorney Matt Pomy, national director of collections Dave Tommer, and/or probate recovery group manager Michelle Moore at any time.
 
This blog is not a solicitation for business and it is not intended to constitute legal advice on specific matters, create an attorney-client relationship or be legally binding in any way.

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