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General Laws

Section 3-803. [Limitations on Presentation of Claims.]

(a) Except as provided in this chapter, a personal representative shall not be held to answer to an action by a creditor of the deceased unless such action is commenced within 1 year after the date of death of the deceased and unless, before the expiration of such period, the process in such action has been served by delivery in hand upon such personal representative or service thereof accepted by him or a notice stating the name of the estate, the name and address of the creditor, the amount of the claim and the court in which the action has been brought has been filed with the register.

(b) A trustee of a trust, the assets of which are subject as a matter of substantive law to being reached by creditors of the deceased shall not be held to answer to an action by a creditor of the deceased unless such action is commenced against such trustee or against the personal representative of the deceased within the time and in the manner provided in subsection (a). Such trustee shall have immunity from personal liability to a creditor or the deceased in the same manner as a personal representative has, pursuant to section 3-807.

(c) A claim described in subsections (a) or (b) which is barred by statute of the decedent’s domicile before the limitation in the commonwealth is barred in the commonwealth.

(d) Nothing in this section affects or prevents:

(1) any proceeding to enforce any mortgage, pledge, or other lien upon property of the estate;

(2) an action for personal injuries or death, if commenced more than one year after the date of death of the deceased, brought against the personal representative, provided that such action is commenced within three years next after the cause of action accrues, and provided further that any judgment recovered in any action so brought may be satisfied only from the proceeds of a policy of insurance or bond, if any, and not from the general assets of the estate.

(3) collection of compensation for services rendered and reimbursement for expenses advanced by the personal representative or by the attorney or accountant for the personal representative of the estate.

(e) If the supreme judicial court, upon a complaint in equity filed by a creditor whose claim has not been prosecuted within the time limited by subsections (a) or (b), deems that justice and equity require it and that such creditor is not chargeable with culpable neglect in not prosecuting his claim within the time so limited, it may give him judgment for the amount of his claim against the estate of the deceased person, provided forthwith upon the filing of the complaint a notice such as provided in subsection (a) has been filed in the proper registry of probate; but such judgment shall not affect any payment or distribution made before the filing of such complaint and notice.

(f) If a deceased received medical assistance under chapter 118E when such deceased was 55 years of age or older or while an inpatient in a nursing facility or other medical institution, section 32 of chapter 118E shall govern the notice to be given to the division of medical assistance and such division’s claim for recovery under section 31 of said chapter 118E if the division so chooses.

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