Estate of Decker v. Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, ACA, MID-AMERIC

Docket NºNo. 71S03-9511-CV-01317
Citation684 N.E.2d 1137
Case DateSeptember 04, 1997
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 1137

684 N.E.2d 1137
In the Matter of the ESTATE OF Charles Earnest DECKER,
Deceased, Defendant-Appellant,
v.
FARM CREDIT SERVICES OF MID-AMERICA, ACA, Plaintiff-Appellee.
No. 71S03-9511-CV-01317.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Sept. 4, 1997.

Page 1138

Robert E. Canfield, South Bend, for Defendant-Appellant.

Jere L. Humphrey, Mark E. Wagner, Kizer & Neu, Plymouth, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

ON PETITION TO TRANSFER

DICKSON, Justice.

This case involves the continued litigation surrounding the plaintiff-appellee's, Farm Credit Services ("FCS"), 1 attempt to file a claim against the defendant-appellant, Estate of Decker, more than one year after the decedent had died, in violation of Indiana Code Section 29-1-7-7(e) (1993). 2 The trial court denied the claim as untimely filed, notwithstanding the fact that FCS did not receive actual notice of the estate as required by Indiana Code Section 29-1-7-7(d). 3 The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the provision in question was a statute of limitation, not a nonclaim statute, and therefore equity may allow an extension of time. Farm Credit Services of Mid America, ACA v. Estate of Decker, 624 N.E.2d 491 (Ind.Ct.App.1993). The court remanded, instructing the probate court to determine whether equity permitted FCS to assert a claim against the estate. Transfer to this Court was not sought and the probate court found in favor of FCS. Upon appeal by the estate, the Court of Appeals affirmed. Estate of Decker v. Farm Credit Services of Mid America, ACA, 653 N.E.2d 534 (Ind.Ct.App.1995). Having granted transfer, we are called upon to decide whether equity should prevent the filing of this claim. We conclude that it should not because Indiana Code Section 29-1-7-7(e) is a strict nonclaim statute rather than a statute of limitations subject to equitable tolling.

The statute in question prescribes a time limit of one year after the death of the decedent for the filing of claims against the estate. IND.CODE § 29-1-7-7(e) (1993); IND.CODE § 29-1-14-1(d) (1993). This one-year limitation period applies whether the creditor has received proper notice, improper notice, or no notice at all, and it is this provision which is at issue. Accord Estate of Jenkins v. Guyton, 912 S.W.2d 134, 138 n. 3 (Tenn.1995).

We disagree with the Court of Appeal's conclusion that this one-year limitation provision is a statute of limitation rather than a nonclaim statute. The distinction between nonclaim statutes and statutes of limitation is explained in Donnella v. Crady, 135 Ind.App. 60, 185 N.E.2d 623 (1962):

[A] nonclaim statute ... grants to every person having a claim of any kind or character against a decedent's estate, the right to file the same in the court having jurisdiction

Page 1139

thereof and have the same adjudicated, provided such claim is filed within the time specified in the statute. Unless such claim is filed within the time so allowed by the statute, it is forever barred. The time element is a built-in condition of the said statute and is of the essence of the right of action. Unless the claim is filed within the prescribed time set out in the statute, no enforceable right of action is created.

While such statutes limit the time in which a claim may be filed or an action brought, they have nothing in common with and are not to be confused with general statutes of limitation. The former creates a right of action if commenced within the time prescribed by the statute, whereas the latter...

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21 practice notes
  • Bell v. Schell, No. 03-241
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • December 2, 2004
    ...Rising Sun State Bank v. Fessler, 400 N.E.2d 1164, 1166 (Ind.Ct.App.1980). Estate of Decker v. Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, ACA, 684 N.E.2d 1137, 1138-39 (Ind. 1997). "A jurisdictional nonclaim statute is not an affirmative defense, because it bars untimely claims without any action......
  • Great Plains Christian Radio v. Central Tower, No. 04-2559 JWL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • November 8, 2005
    ...if a so-called "nonclaim statute" has been enacted by the legislature. See Estate of Decker v. Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, ACA, 684 N.E.2d 1137, 1139 (Ind.1997) ("While equitable principles may extend the time for commencing an action under statutes of limitation, nonclaim statutes......
  • Mann v. Arnos, Court of Appeals Case No. 21A-CT-1634
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • March 21, 2022
    ...Blackford v. Welborn Clinic , 172 N.E.3d 1219, 1225 n.3 (Ind. 2021) (citing Est. of Decker v. Farm Credit Servs. of Mid-Am., ACA , 684 N.E.2d 1137, 1139 (Ind. 1997) ). The Blackford court did not have to resolve that potential conflict, and our supreme court has yet to consider it. The part......
  • Peters v. Riggs Nat. Bank, N.A., No. 05-CV-1379.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • February 28, 2008
    ...This logic is consistent with holdings from other jurisdictions. See, e.g., Estate of Decker v. Farm Credit Servs. of Mid-America, ACA, 684 N.E.2d 1137, 1139 (Ind.1997) ("While equitable principles may extend the time for commencing an action under statutes of limitation, nonclaim statutes ......
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21 cases
  • Bell v. Schell, No. 03-241
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • December 2, 2004
    ...Rising Sun State Bank v. Fessler, 400 N.E.2d 1164, 1166 (Ind.Ct.App.1980). Estate of Decker v. Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, ACA, 684 N.E.2d 1137, 1138-39 (Ind. 1997). "A jurisdictional nonclaim statute is not an affirmative defense, because it bars untimely claims without any action......
  • Great Plains Christian Radio v. Central Tower, No. 04-2559 JWL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • November 8, 2005
    ...if a so-called "nonclaim statute" has been enacted by the legislature. See Estate of Decker v. Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, ACA, 684 N.E.2d 1137, 1139 (Ind.1997) ("While equitable principles may extend the time for commencing an action under statutes of limitation, nonclaim statutes......
  • Mann v. Arnos, Court of Appeals Case No. 21A-CT-1634
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • March 21, 2022
    ...Blackford v. Welborn Clinic , 172 N.E.3d 1219, 1225 n.3 (Ind. 2021) (citing Est. of Decker v. Farm Credit Servs. of Mid-Am., ACA , 684 N.E.2d 1137, 1139 (Ind. 1997) ). The Blackford court did not have to resolve that potential conflict, and our supreme court has yet to consider it. The part......
  • Peters v. Riggs Nat. Bank, N.A., No. 05-CV-1379.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • February 28, 2008
    ...This logic is consistent with holdings from other jurisdictions. See, e.g., Estate of Decker v. Farm Credit Servs. of Mid-America, ACA, 684 N.E.2d 1137, 1139 (Ind.1997) ("While equitable principles may extend the time for commencing an action under statutes of limitation, nonclaim statutes ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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