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How long to wait for debts?

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My mother died 7 months ago, and was a resident of Alabama. We are attemting to settle her estate, and still have not recieved any bills from the ambulance and emergency room visit when she died. How long do they have to present the bill before we can settle the remaining part of the estate? Also, one sibling is living in her house, but the will specifies that the house is to be sold and proceeds to be divided equally among the children. Is there a time frame that this has to occur in? Thank you!



JUNE 11, 2001


If you haven't already contacted the ambulance company and the hospital to inquire about the bills, then you need to do so. It's very odd that you haven't received the bills yet, since medical agencies are usually on top of this situation and are set up to send out the bills within 2 days of receipt of information. Maybe they don't have her correct address on file or maybe they submitted them to the insurance company or government agency for payment, but at least they should be able to give you some type of explanation of what happened.

An estate is normally closed within 2-3 months, but there is no definite deadline or time limit for closing, since some estates are more complicated. You can take as much time as you need, but should try to finish things up within a year, if possible.

You should talk to a real estate agent about starting the process to put the house up for sale. Is this sibling agreeable to eventually moving out when the time comes? Again, there may not necessarily be a time limit for the house sale to be completed, since many factors come into play as to how much demand there is in the local marketplace for housing in your area. But it probably should sell within 2-4 months, if not sooner.

At some point in the probate process you need to have the title changed to reflect the names of the heirs before you all turn around and sell it to someone else.


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