Estate debt after probate

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Just wondering if anyone has any ideas on this situation. My father (Portuguese res & UK cit) passed away in Portimao 3 years ago. We had a lawyer in Lagos process the estate as required and the assets distributed. Now, 3 years later, a private hospital is suing my brother (UK cit & resident) for non-payment of a hospital bill relating to the death of my step-mother (Port res & UK cit) 4 years ago claiming my father never paid it. In the intervening time, at no point did the hospital even issue any invoices to us. Is there any statute of limitations and/or protection for heirs from outstanding estate debts as a result of the probate process? We have contacted our lawyer but just trying to get some understanding of Portuguese laws. Thanks for any help.


steve01-749178 1337974715

Hi sorry to hear of your situation.

Firstly its important to understand - are they sueing for the repayment of the debt or simply asking for payment.

They are very different positions.

Are they just asking for payment - albeit sometimes in a very 'official style' - often using phrases like 'sueing, legally demanding' etc that in fact have no substance in law.

Or are they in fact issueing you with an order to pay - sueing - after achieving a court order to that effect.

If its a court order you should seriously consider prompt payment - the legal costs otherwise in Portugal can be enormous.

Regardless you should start by asking for a full history of all documents issued, dates, proof of postage etc.

Then determine who accepted responsibility for payment.

The debt normally belongs to the person who caused it - i.e your step-mother

In Portugal all wills/ deaths / probate are actioned by a Notary - who publishes the information.

The Notary who actioned both your Step-mother and Fathers probate is the person to contact.

Debts are automatically passed to the people inheriting - i.e probably your father from your step-mother.

This can and should be limited to the value of the inheritance by the Lawyer acting on your behalf.

But as far as i know debts are not passed endlessly on through time / family lines.

e.g this debt would not normally be yours, or if indeed you now died, your inheritors and on and on.

Wishing you the best of luck


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