Among the most common issues in probate concerns “creditor claims,” the money owed by an estate to an individual or entity (the creditor or claimant).
The Personal Representative of an Estate Must Notify Creditors
When a person dies, their estate—the sum of all their assets—goes through probate, the court-supervised process of winding down an estate. Either the Will of the decedent or the court will appoint a personal representative to administer the estate in probate. Among the personal representative’s earliest duties is to notify all ascertainable creditors of the estate and publish a “Notice to Creditors” that will alert all creditors to file claims against the estate within the time provided by law.
How and When to File a Claim Against an Estate
Florida statutes requires that creditors file a written statement of their claim with the probate court; the Notice to Creditors should contain the file number of the probate case, the judicial circuit in which the court is located, and other details so that you know where to file.
It is crucial to file your claim within the statutory timeframe: no creditor claim, regardless of longstanding or credible it is, will be binding unless it is filed within three months after the date of the first publication of the Notice to Creditors, or, if served with a notice directly, within 30 days after the date of service. Any claim not timely filed will automatically be barred except in cases of fraud, estoppel, or insufficient notice.
What Happens if the Estate Objects to a Creditor Claim?
Upon the filing of a claim, the personal representative will either pay it or respond with an objection. If met with an objection, the creditor must file an independent action within 30 days. An independent action is basically a separate lawsuit filed in civil court (although if it is filed in the probate division, the case can be transferred to the correct division). As with the filing of the original claim, if you do not file an independent action within the time frame, it is automatically barred.
Ask a Jurado & Farshchian Attorney About Creditor Representation
Given the many rules and sensitive deadlines to keep in mind, the likelihood of recovering your claim is greatly improved when you hire an experienced probate attorney from Jurado & Farshchian, P.L. We are deeply familiar with Florida’s probate rules and court procedures and will help you navigate the complexities of probate, from ensuring that your claim is properly and timely filed, to fighting your case in court. Our attorneys will vigorously represent you in any claim or action against an estate.
Additional resources provided by the author
For more information about our creditor representation services, contact me at 305-921-0440 or email me directly at [email protected].
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