Explanation of Creditors’ Claims under Florida Probate Law

Posted By on January 4, 2010

If you are appointed a Florida Personal Representative to administer a deceased person’s estate, you may have to deal with creditors’ claims against the estate, which can be tricky. Your Florida probate attorney will know exactly how to handle a claim, including whether or not to object to a claim, when to pay a claim, how the decedent’s homestead real estate is affected by a claim, and what to do if there aren’t enough assets to pay multiple claims. There’s also the issues of dealing with illegitimate creditors, avoiding being held personally liable for the estate’s debts, and disbursing or selling assets without first satisfying the legitimate claims of the estate. Notwithstanding these issues, here’s a basic rundown of Florida’s probate claims process.

If the decedent’s creditor filed a “caveat” with a court before the probate proceedings were commenced, the court will notify the creditor of the administration of the estate. If the Florida Personal Representative knows of the existence of a particular creditor (i.e. if he receives a bill from the decedent’s credit card company), the Personal Representative must “serve” a “Notice to Creditors” on the creditor. If not, the Personal Representative’s publication of the Notice to Creditors in a widely circulated newspaper as required by law will alert potential creditors to the fact that the decedent’s estate is being administered.

The creditor has 30 days from the date on which he was served with the Notice to Creditors or three months from the date of first publication of the Notice to Creditors (whichever is later) to file his “Statement of Claim” with the court that is overseeing the administration of the estate. If the creditor does not file his claim within the allotted time period, he loses his right to repayment unless the court specifically determines otherwise.

If, however, the creditor appropriately files his claim against the estate, the Personal Representative or any other interested person (i.e. named beneficiary or intestate heir) has 30 days from the date on which the Statement of Claim was filed or four months from the date of first publication of the Notice to Creditors (whichever is later) to file his “Objection to Claim” with the court. The person who objects must also officially serve the claimant with his Objection; the claimant has 30 days from the date of service to bring an action (i.e. file suit against the estate) on the claim. If the claimant fails to do so, the claim is lost and the creditor again loses his right to repayment.

For More Detailed Information On Creditor Claims And Related Topics, Please Visit Our Sister Site: About Florida Probate.com

Alternatively, if you are interested in learning more about this topic, you can contact me, a Broward County Probate Attorney, by email, or call me at (954) 458-8655 and I will be happy to answer your questions. I offer a free initial consultation.

Comments

One Response to “Explanation of Creditors’ Claims under Florida Probate Law”

  1. Mari Edlin says:

    As a creditor to an estate in which an original will cannot be found, how does one actually file for funds due through Florida probate court?

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