During Florida probate, a decedent’s creditors are entitled to be notified that the decedent has passed away and that an estate administration proceeding is pending. The personal representative of an estate is specifically required by law to serve a notice to creditors directly on all known creditors of the decedent. Additionally, the personal representative is required to publish the notice to creditors in a local newspaper in the county where the estate is being administered once a week for two consecutive weeks. The purpose of this notice is to give creditors a fair opportunity to file their claims against the estate.
Under Florida Law, creditors must file their claims against the estate within a period of 90 days starting from the date of the first publication of the notice to creditors in a local newspaper, or 30 days after receiving direct service of the notice to creditors, whichever happens later. All creditor claims that are not filed within this time limitations are forever barred. Additionally, the Florida Probate Code imposes a restriction on all creditor claims against the estate filed more than two years after the decedent’s date of death.
Once the time period for filing creditor claims (known as “creditor period”) has expired, the personal representative of the estate can file objections to any pending creditor claims. If objections are filed in the probate proceeding, a creditor is required to initiate an independent action against the estate, which is done by filing a complaint within 30 days starting from the date the objection was formally filed. If an independent action by a creditor is not initiated within this time period, the claim may be barred by the probate court.
All creditor claims pending when the administration of the estate closes will be paid in a priority order, which is imposed by the Florida probate code. After satisfying all creditor claims of a preceding class, if an estate is not enough to satisfy all the creditor claims of a junior class, the creditors in the junior class will be paid in proportion to their respective claims.
Are You a Creditor of an Estate in Florida? Here is What You Need to Know
Sometimes, people are creditors and do not even know it.
Creditors in Florida have rights under Florida Law to money owed to them by a person who has unfortunately passed away. When someone passes away in Florida owing money or assets to others, the Florida estate is responsible for paying the debts owed by the decedent. The question here is: are you a creditor? Consider the following to answer that question:
- If you lent money to a person who has died in Florida and your debt was never settled, you are a creditor.
- If you are the surviving spouse of someone who passed away and there was a prenuptial agreement, then you are a creditor.
As mentioned above, the personal representative of an estate in Florida is responsible for notifying creditors that the estate is being administered and you will have 90 days to file a written claim against the estate to request payment of the money that is owed to you.
If you are a creditor that had entered into a contract or a prenuptial agreement with the decedent, you must file a claim that must include an attached copy of the contract or agreement.
Once you file a claim, the personal representative of the estate will have one calendar year to satisfy your claim starting from the date of the initial publication the notice to creditors. However, this time frame may be extended in certain circumstances.
When it comes to probate, Florida has a rather short window for creditors of an estate to exercise their rights. The help of experienced Florida Probate Lawyers who know how the probate process works and understand the nuances of the law is crucial for creditors.
In Florida probate estates, creditor claims are a common source of litigation. No matter how large or small, almost every probate estate in Florida has creditors that file claims against it. If you are a creditor or the personal representative of an estate who is trying to understand creditor rights under the Florida Probate Code, consulting with an experienced Florida Probate Attorney is the best course of action for you.
At our Jurado & Associates, P.A., you will find the right lawyer for your case no matter where you are in Florida. To get in touch with us, learn more about our probate services, and schedule an initial consultation, call us (305) 921-0976 or email Romy@juradolawfirm.com.