Bankruptcy Proceedings for Insolvent Decedents’ Estates

Under present law, bankruptcy proceedings cannot be instituted by or against insolvent decedents’ estates. Creditors of insolvent decedents must look to state probate laws for satisfaction. But these laws are more concerned with the control of solvent estates than with the affairs of the impecunious. Also, transfers of wealth at death by nonprobate means are coming to be the rule rather than the exception, and it is frequently very difficult for creditors of decedents to obtain satisfaction of unsecured claims from nonprobate assets. This article advocates the extension of bankruptcy laws to insolvent decedents’ estates and explores problems and solutions that might be involved if this recommendation is accepted.