In re Estate of Van Der Zee

In In re Estate of Van Der Zee, 228 Ariz. 257, 265 P.3d 439 (App. 2011), the decedent's former husband claimed he was a known creditor of the estate based on a term in the dissolution decree requiring decedent to obtain a life insurance policy naming a mortgagee as the beneficiary. Id.3, 10. The former husband presented a claim in the amount of the life insurance policy soon after the decedent died. Id.4-5. The estate disallowed the claim on the ground that it was unclear the former husband had standing to assert a claim for the amount of the insurance policy. Id.20. The former husband failed to commence a proceeding within sixty days and the trial court determined, among other things, that the claim was time-barred. Id.7, 13. On appeal, the former husband argued the sixty-day limit did not apply; rather, he had two years to file a claim because he was not given proper written notice as a known creditor. Id.10. The court concluded, in pertinent part, that when a claimant files a notice, 14-3806(A) establishes a sixty-day time limit to initiate proceedings to challenge the denial of the claim. Id.13. On its facts, however, Estate of Van Der Zee is limited to circumstances where the claimant does not have a judgment against the personal representative or a pending lawsuit against the decedent that was filed prior to his death. Id.2-7, 17. It does not apply when a separate action is pending.