“What Bills Do I Pay?” Handling Creditors in a Florida Probate Estate
One of the most common questions we receive as Probate Attorneys is how to handle bills of the Decedent, and whether or not they should be paid. Many mistakenly believe as the Personal Representative, they automatically become personally liable for the debt.
Upon meeting with us for a probate administration, we will ask questions and give recommendations on the best way to reasonably ascertain the names and addresses of creditors of the Decedent, and of all other persons having claims or demands against the estate. We will also advise you on 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 are not enough assets to satisfy multiple claims.
People often pass away with debt, and the estate of the Decedent becomes liable for the debt, not the Personal Representative in most scenarios. The creditor must file a Statement of Claim in the Decedent’s estate pursuant to Fla. Stat. §733.703. Under Fla. Stat. §733.702, a creditor’s claim must be filed within three months after the time of the first publication of the notice of creditors, or, if the creditor is a known and/or reasonably ascertainable creditor, thirty days after being served with the notice of creditors. This does not guarantee that a creditor will be paid. For example, if a claim is untimely filed or not legitimate, an objection to the claim can be filed, on or before the expiration of four months from the first publication of notice to creditors, or within thirty days from the timely filing or amendment of a claim, whichever occurs later.
For more detailed information on creditor claims and related topics, please give us a call to schedule an appointment. We are located at 515 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441, and can be contacted at 954-429-1200. We are happy to answer your questions and offer complimentary consultations.
-Sheereen Middleton, Esq.