Non-Monetary Claims Against the Estate

When an individual dies, there is generally no more than one year from the date of death to make a “claim” against his/her estate. The burden to commence a claim is the responsibility of the claimant. Mo. Highway & Transp. Com’n v. Myers, 785 S.W.2d 70, 73 (Mo. 1990). The general purpose of this deadline is to provide relief against uncertainty and facilitate the prompt settlement of decedent estates. Id.

Whether something is a “claim” that fits within this deadline is more nuanced. A claim includes “liabilities of the decedent which survive whether arising in contract, tort or otherwise, funeral expenses, the expense of a tombstone and costs and expenses of administration.” Section 472.010(3), RSMo. “Liability,” in this context, refers to a “debt or a pecuniary obligation.” Strumberg v. Mercantile Trust Company, 367 SW 2d 535, 538 (Mo. 1963). For this reason, non-pecuniary claims or causes of action, are typically not subject to this deadline. See Bailey v. Richardson, 667 S.W.2d 720, 722 (Mo. App. W.D. 1984) (specific performance of a real estate claim not a “claim” for purposes of probate nonclaim statute).

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