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Why Notice To Creditors Is Important In Florida Probate

James W. Martin

When a Florida resident dies, creditors have two years to file their claims for debts. Most beneficiaries of Florida probate do not want to wait two years to collect their inheritance. That’s why Florida probate lawyers publish notice to creditors and then serve notice to creditors on all possible creditors. It shortens the time for creditors to make claims to just three months after the date of publication, or thirty days after the creditor received the notice to creditors.

Therefore, the personal representative (executor or PR) of Florida probate estates needs to do several things:

  1. Be sure the Florida probate lawyer publishes notice to creditors in the newspaper as soon as possible after the letters of administration appointing you as personal representative have been issued.
  2. Search for all possible creditors by reviewing the decedent’s records for the last twelve months, such as mail, checkbooks, bills, etc. Also ask the Florida probate lawyer search in the state and county records for lawsuits, UCCs, and judgments.
  3. Serve the notice to creditors on all possible creditors that you found by sending them the notice to creditors at least thirty days before three-month period ends after the date of publishing the notice in the newspaper. Be sure to keep copies of all your cover letters, envelopes, enclosures, and proof of delivery (certified mail, FedEx, UPS, etc.)

If the PR does all of that, then when the three-month creditor claims period expires, the Florida lawyer for the probate can check the court docket to see which creditors have filed claims.

And remember, most of the time, only creditors who have filed claims are entitled to be paid, so it is best to not pay any claims when they come in but to wait until the end of the three-month creditor claims period for Florida probate before paying any claims.

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