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A personal representative of a decedent's estate, or any creditor, legatee or distributee of a decedent, may request the Commissioner of Accounts to set a date, time and place to receive proof of debts and demands against the decedent or his estate (normally referred to as a debts and demands hearing).
Before proceeding with a request for a debts and demands hearing, the Commissioner will normally require the filing of an accounting by the personal representative. The Commissioner may, though, conduct such a hearing at any time determined by the Commissioner, and may do so even though no accounting is pending.
The Commissioner is required to publish notice of the date and place of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or city where the personal representative qualified at least 10 days before the date of the hearing. Additionally, the Commissioner must post notice of the date and place of the hearing at the front door of the courthouse of the court where the personal representative qualified.
The personal representative is required to give written notice of the hearing to each claimant of a claim that the personal representative disputes. Notice is sent to the last address of the claimant known to the personal representative. The notice may be sent by regular, certified or registered mail, or by personal service at least 10 days prior to the hearing.
The notice on disputed claims must inform the claimant of his right to attend and present the case on his claim, of his right to obtain another date if the Commissioner determines that the initial date is inappropriate, of the fact that he will be bound by any adverse ruling, and of the right to file exceptions (discussed in the next Section) to the Commissioner's report if the creditor disagrees with the Commissioner's determination.
The personal representative is required to provide evidence at the hearing of mailing of the required notice to claimants of disputed claims.
The Commissioner may in cases that he or she deems appropriate direct the personal representative to institute an appropriate court action to determine the validity of a claim.
The debts and demands hearing will normally be conducted at the Commissioner's office. Evidence is presented by the parties in much the same way as a court hearing. If there will be considerable evidence or witness testimony presented, the Commissioner may require the parties to arrange for a court reporter to create a record of the proceeding. Participating parties should contact the Commissioners office regarding requirements for the hearing.
If the personal representative requested the hearing and if no disputed claims are anticipated it is not normally necessary for the personal representative to appear. The Commissioner will file his or her report indicating that no creditors or claimants appeared at the hearing. Normally, the personal representative can provide a list of known debts that he or she does not intend to dispute. Again, the Commissioner should be contacted to confirm such matters.
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