After opening a probate estate, a Personal Representative has a duty to provide legal notice to any creditors of the decedent. Creditors of the estate may include unsecured debt and secured debt. Often in Wrongful Death actions, creditors (including those attempting to perfect court ordered case evaluation sanctions as a wrongful death creditor), will file a Proof of Claim alleging a debt. Michigan’s statute that governs the presentation of creditor claims including wrongful death creditor claims is MCL 700.3804.
This month, The Probate Pro again successfully prevailed in an action in which a Defendant whose claims were previously dismissed attempted to lien the wrongful death proceeds claiming its case evaluation sanctions were a priority creditor. The wrongful death creditor alleged that its case evaluation sanctions were a lien on the proceeds.
The Probate Pro successfully argued that the Proof of Claim of the wrongful death creditor was appropriately disallowed as an impermissible expense to be paid from the Wrongful Death proceeds.
Wrongful Death Creditor Ruling
The court agreed with The Probate Pro’s argument that only a specific wrongful death creditor can be paid from the wrongful death proceeds. At a hearing, the judge dismissed the claims of the wrongful death creditor.
Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act, MCL 600.2922(d) provides that …”the court shall order payment from the proceeds of the reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses of the decedent for which the estate is liable. The proceeds shall not be applied to the payment of any other charges against the estate of the decedent.“ The court concluded that case evaluations are not one of the specified wrongful death creditor claims payable from wrongful death proceeds.
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