Rights and Duties of Creditors Under Florida Law

Florida has very strict time restrictions as to when a creditor can file a claim against an estate, and if the deadline passes they are likely barred from the claim.

To start the process, the personal representative is charged with the duty of publishing notice to all creditors that the decedent has passed away. Publishing notice means that the personal representative must document this prescribed notice in a countywide newspaper once a week for two consecutive weeks. Such notice can be accomplished by publishing it in a major Miami or Fort Lauderdale newspaper.

If a creditor seeks a claim against the estate, the creditor’s statement of claim must then be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court within three months of the date of the first notice published by the personal representative. If the creditor is late in filing, then the claim will likely be barred.

Additionally, the personal representative must make a diligent search to obtain the names and addresses of those creditors who are reasonably ascertainable. For those creditors, the personal representative must serve notice directly on them. Creditors personally served with notice have only 30 days from the date of service to file their claim against the estate with the court.

The Florida Statutes state that if a claim is not timely filed, it will be barred even if the personal representative files no objection to the claim. The only way to get an extension would be on grounds of fraud, estoppels, or insufficient notice of the claims period.

Additionally, please note that the Florida Bar has published a consumer information packet with more information regarding this topic and other probate topics in Florida: http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/0/92f75229484644c985256b2f006c5a7a?OpenDocument

If you live in the West Palm, Broward, or Miami-Dade area and believe that a creditor’s claim was improperly admitted into probate or are a creditor whose claim was improperly barred against an estate, the probate litigation team at Chepenik Trushin will help you obtain the proper legal relief. Please feel free to contact us for an initial first consultation.