Most in Hernando County may view the probate process as only dealing with the distribution of assets to an estate’s beneficiaries. Yet the actual purpose is to settle all of a decedent’s financial affairs. This includes any creditors claims that might have been pending against them at the time of their death. If you have been selected as the personal representative of the estate of family member or friend, you may cringe at the thought of having to worry about paying off bills for years and years to come. Fortunately, Florida’s Probate Code addresses the amount of time creditors are afforded to make a claim against a person’s estate.
According to Section 733.702 of the aforementioned code, creditors have three months to respond to your publication of the notice to creditors to submit claims against the estate. For those creditors that you may be required to submit such a notice to individually, due to the nature of their claims, they have 30 from the receipt that notice to respond. There may be cases where unique circumstances prevent a creditor from submitting the complete details of a claim within the afforded time period. In such a scenario, the court may offer a filing extension. However, in general, no new claims are allowed to be submitted against an estate after two years has passed since your loved one’s death.
Some might say that if you had already initiated payment to a creditor prior to formally beginning the process of administering the estate, that act alone verifies the legitimacy of the claim and thus exempts the creditor from timely filing restrictions. That is not the case. The same is true regarding cause of action. Any party looking to initiate a civil action against your loved one must do it within the allotted time period.