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California Probate, Will & Trust Lawyer > Blog > Probate > Is Unpaid Child Support Payable From the Deceased Parent’s Probate Estate in California?

Is Unpaid Child Support Payable From the Deceased Parent’s Probate Estate in California?


As is in other states, California courts award child support to help custodian parents with childcare-related costs and expenses. Usually, parents are required to pay child support until a child turns 18. However, in some cases, child support payments continue until a child reaches the age of 19. For instance, if a child turns 18 when they are still in high school, child support payments may continue until they turn 19. When the paying parent passes away, custodian parents are often left to wonder if they can recover unpaid child support payments from the deceased parent’s probate estate. So, is unpaid child support payable from the deceased parent’s probate estate in California? In California, a parent can collect unpaid child support from the probate estate of a deceased parent. Usually, when someone dies, any debts they owe, including child support payments, need to be settled from their estate before asset distribution can occur. Below is more on collecting unpaid child support payments from a deceased parent’s probate estate.

Collecting Child Support Payments From a Probate Estate

When a parent dies, leaving behind unpaid child support payments, the deceased parent’s probate estate is legally responsible for paying the unpaid child support payments. A decedent’s probate estate consists of all the property the decedent owned at the time of their death. Assets in a probate estate include real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, personal property such as jewelry and cars, and business interests. In California, child support falls under “judgments not secured by a lien,” which falls under “general debts.” If a probate estate has sufficient assets, the estate is required to pay unpaid child support payments.

However, the parent to whom child support payments are owed may need to file a creditor claim like other creditors. According to California Probate Law Code, Section 9100, you generally have four months after letters are issued to a general personal representative to file your claim with the California Probate Court. Also, according to California Probate Law Code, Section 9150, the estate executor or administrator must receive a copy of the creditor claim within a month of filing the claim or four months after letters have been issued, whichever comes later. If the court appoints a personal representative after a creditor claim has been filed, the claim must be served on the newly appointed personal representative.

What Should a Personal Representative Do When They Receive a Claim for Child Support?

After a personal representative receives a claim for child support, they should review and verify the claim’s validity. If the claim seems valid, the personal representative should inform interested parties, including beneficiaries, about the claim. Then, they should allocate funds to settle the claim if the estate has sufficient assets.

If a personal representative has reasons to dispute an unpaid child support claim, they can file objections with the court. For example, a personal representative may object to a child support claim if it seems invalid or if the claim contains inaccurate information.

Contact Us for Legal Help

Handling claims for child support against a probate estate can be legally complex. It is advisable to seek legal help from a skilled probate attorney. Contact our skilled and dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a telephonic consultation.

Southern California Probate Lawyer Serving Orange, Riverside, Anaheim, Whittier & Beyond.

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