During people's lives in Missouri they do many different things, work many different jobs, earn different amounts of money and incur different amounts debt. All of things are very relevant to the person while they are living, but they cannot take any of these things with them after they pass away. So, all of their property and debts must be dealt with by those who survive them. This is accomplished through the probate process when all assets are distributed and debts are paid.
At the beginning of the probate process, notice of letters testamentary must be published. This gives any beneficiaries and creditors notice that the estate is in the probate. This allows them to make any claims they have against the estate. However, the creditors do not have forever to make their claims. Creditors must file claims within six months of the when the notice of letters testamentary or within two months if the notice was directly served on the creditor by mail or other means.
If a creditor does not make a claim within these time limitations they will forever be barred from making a claim against the estate and the personal representative or beneficiaries will never be required to pay the debt. However, if there is a valid claim the creditors may have a right to be paid before distributions are made to the beneficiaries. This is just one aspect of the probate process and it can be a long process before everyone receives what they are entitled to.
There are different ways that people in Missouri prepare for their deaths, but many times their estates will need to go through probate. This is process of gathering all the assets and distributing them to those who are supposed to receive them. This includes creditors receiving payments for debts owed to them. Probate can be a very complicated process though and experienced attorneys may be able to guide one through it.