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Recent Ruling: State Opens Probate 15 Years Later

  From time to time we will publish local cases and legislative bills:

State v. Boyle, — P.3d –, 2009 WL 1313755 (Or App)

Background: Fifteen years after the decedent’s death, the state of Oregon opened probate in order to attempt to collect approximately $80,000 worth of medical assistant payments the state made on the decedent’s behalf before his death. The personal representative disallowed the claim as untimely. The state filed a separate action based on the denial of their claim.


Holding: The only statute of limitation that applies to claims by the state against an estate for medical expense reimbursement is ORS 115.005(2)(a). This statutory provision only requires that claims be filed within 4 months of probate opening. Since the state did this, their claim was allowable.

Comment: 15 years? The state sure has a long memory. But if the claim had also been subject to some other statute of limitation (like 6 years for a contract claim), then the claim could be disallowed.