What About Creditors of a Florida Decedent? April 20th, 2011

A Personal Representative (“P.R.”) is the court appointed fiduciary responsible for administering the decedent’s estate.  One of a Florida PR’s obligations is to determine the estate’s debts and, to the extent the estate has sufficient funds to pay the debts.  This duty is often overlooked or misunderstood.

The P.R. is required to make a diligent search to determine reasonably ascertainable creditors.  A Checklist to Determine Creditors procedures is set forth below.Generally, the creditor must file its claim with the Probate Court within the later to occur of: 90 days from the publication of the notice; or within 30 days of receipt of actual notice, or the claim is forever barred.   If the P.R or its attorney fails to send the notice to a creditor within the time allowed, then the creditor will have extra time to file its claim.

Checklist to Determine Estate Creditors

1. Forward the decedent’s mail to the Personal Representative or to the estate attorney.

2. Review the decedent’s credit cards and balances due reflected on the most recent statements. Send notice to the credit card companies to file a claim.

3. Review debts, including loans to banks and financial institutions.

4. Review the decedent’s income returns for three years prior to the date of death and determine whether there are any outstanding audits, adjustments, or other pending tax matters.

5. Review the decedent’s checking account statements for recurrent or repeat payments to the same person or entity that may be evidence of a loan, installment agreement, or other obligation to a creditor.

6. Contact attending physician as to whether there were other consulting physicians or hospitalizations or treatments and make sure that they have all of the health insurance information.

7. Perform a name search (including online search of the Public Records of the county of the decedent), which might reveal judgments and liens.

8. Order a credit report from a reputable credit reporting agency.


This blog is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. If you would like to contact Stuart A. Rader regarding an area of probate and trust administration, estate planning, taxation, and succession planning for closely held businesses, please email counselor@floridaprobatelawblog.com.





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