Department's suit was filed more than 90 days after notice of rejection was given to it but fewer than 90 days after notice of rejection was filed with the court.
That section permits claimants to bring actions for a period of one year from the date of death for all actions except those subject to the more limited periods established in the Probate Code for claims against the trust itself. There, the court concluded there is an interrelationship between nonclaim statutes of limitation and those specific to Probate Code claims.(§ 19400.) Since the extent of a distributee's liability depends on the amount by which the remaining trust assets are inadequate to satisfy creditors' adjudicated claims against the trust estate, it logically follows that when a claimant's action seeking to adjudicate its rights against the trust estate is dismissed as time-barred, it retains no independent right of action against the distributees.That is, when a creditor has the opportunity to establish the liability of a trustee by proving the trustor's obligations at time of death, the premature distributees' liability to satisfy a creditor's claim arises only after the decedent's liability first has been established.The trustee shall file the allowance or rejection with the court clerk and give notice to the claimant, together with a copy of the allowance or rejection, as provided in Section 1215.”The parties' dispute arises from their disagreement over the proper application of this statute to the following factual scenario.The trustee gave Department written notice of rejection on August 26, 1997, clearly citing the 90-day limit within which any Department action on its rejected claim had to be brought.However, we conclude the legislative scheme does not create separate rights of action against the distributees so as to permit recovery pursuant to section 19203 when a creditor has failed to establish its right after bringing an action against a decedent's trust. Rptr.2d 726, is relevant only to the extent it holds that an otherwise applicable nonclaim statute of limitations period is tolled during the period between the filing of a notice of claim and the service of a notice of rejection. Because we conclude there is an interrelationship between the nonclaim statute of limitations and the Probate Code claims limitations, as analyzed in Anderson, we review the statutory scheme in light of our facts and the apparent legislative intent.
Department cites two decisions it claims support its argument that section 19203 gives it a totally independent right of action against the distributees that is not affected by its ability to establish its right to recover through an action against the trust estate. The assets of a revocable trust are subject to claims of decedent's creditors. (a).) Proof of such claims and entitlement to recover the same in cases where the trustee elects not to open a formal probate estate, but does give direct notice to a creditor, requires the creditor to timely file its claim and, if rejected, file a timely action within 90 days to determine whether its claim is valid.
Pursuant to section 19253, subdivision (b), an action subject to the time limit in Code of Civil Procedure section 366.2 is tolled from the time a creditor's claim is filed until the trustee gives notice of rejection. That is, Department at least tacitly recognizes there is an interrelationship between the specific limitations set forth in the Probate Code and the nonclaim statute.
Thus, Department contends that even if the notice of rejection is deemed to have been filed by August 26, 1997, the period between January 15, 1997 (the date it filed its claim), and August 26 has to be excluded from the one-year computation. However, it fails to recognize any such interrelationship as to its actions against the individual distributees.
On August 25, the superior court clerk stamped the written rejection “Filed.” Thereafter, the clerk stamped “File Stamp Cancelled” over the “Filed” stamp for failure to pay the required filing fee.
On October 21, in response to a search request by the Attorney General's Sacramento office, the clerk attested no probate filing was found for decedent from January 1, 1974, to October 21, 1997.
Department's complaint was filed on January 14, 1998, seeking to enforce its right to recover reimbursement for moneys due from the trust and from two distributees of the trust estate.