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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 3-807: Payment of claims

Section 3–807. [Payment of Claims.]

(a) Upon the expiration of the time limitation provided in section 3–803 for the presentation of claims, the personal representative shall proceed to pay the claims allowed against the estate in the order of priority prescribed, after making provision for family allowances, for claims already presented that have not yet been allowed or whose allowance has been appealed, and for unbarred claims that may yet be presented, including costs and expenses of administration. By petition to the court in a proceeding for the purpose, or by appropriate motion if the administration is supervised, a claimant whose claim has been allowed but not paid may secure an order directing the personal representative to pay the claim to the extent funds of the estate are available to pay it.

(b) If a personal representative finds that the estate of the deceased will probably be insufficient for the payment of his debts the personal representative shall represent the estate to be insolvent to the court, and shall, pursuant to court order, after notice to all persons interested, divide and pay over what remains in the personal representative's hands among the creditors who prove their debts. No action shall be maintained against a personal representative after an estate has been represented insolvent, unless for a claim entitled to a preference which would not be affected by the insolvency of the estate or unless the assets prove more than sufficient to pay all the debts allowed. If the estate is represented insolvent while an action is pending for a claim which is not entitled to such preference, the action may be stayed without costs until it appears whether the estate is insolvent, and if it is not insolvent, the plaintiff may prosecute the action as if no such representation had been made.

(c) If a personal representative shall not within 6 months after the date of death of the deceased have had notice of demands against the estate of the deceased sufficient to warrant him to represent such estate to be insolvent, he or she may, after the expiration of said 6 months, pay the debts due from the estate and shall not be personally liable to any creditor in consequence for such payments made before notice of such creditor's demand; and if such a personal representative shall be in doubt as to the validity of any debt which, if valid, the personal representative would have a right to pay under this section, the personal representative may, with the approval of the court, after notice to all persons interested, pay such debt or so much thereof as the court may authorize.

(d) If a personal representative pays under subsection (c), before notice of the demand of any other creditor, the whole of the estate and effects of the deceased, the personal representative shall not be required in consequence of such notice to represent the estate insolvent, but in an action against the personal representative shall be discharged upon proving such payments.

(e) If a personal representative pays, under subsection (c), so much of the estate and effects of the deceased that the remainder is insufficient to satisfy a demand of which the personal representative afterward has notice, the personal representative shall be liable on such last mentioned demand for only so much as may then remain. If 2 or more such demands are exhibited, which together exceed the amount of assets remaining in his hands, the personal representative may represent the estate insolvent, and shall, pursuant to court order, after notice to all persons interested, divide and pay over what remains in the personal representative's hands among the creditors who prove their debts; but the creditors of the deceased who have been previously paid shall not be liable to repay any part of the amount received by them.

(f) If it appears, upon the settlement of the account of a personal representative, that the whole estate and effects which have come to the personal representative's hands have been exhausted in paying the charges of administration and debts or claims entitled by law to a preference over the common creditors of the deceased, such settlement shall be a bar to an action brought against the personal representative by a creditor who is not entitled to such preference, although the estate has not been represented insolvent.

(g) The personal representative at any time may pay any just claim that has not been barred, with or without formal presentation, but, except as provided in subsections (c), (d), (e) and (f), is personally liable to any other claimant whose claim is allowed and who is injured by its payment if:

(1) payment was made before the expiration of the time limit stated in subsection (a) and the personal representative failed to require the payee to give adequate security for the refund of any of the payment necessary to pay other claimants; or

(2) payment was made, due to negligence or willful fault of the personal representative, in such manner as to deprive the injured claimant of priority.