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Communicating with creditors is a key probate obligation

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Probate Administration |

The personal representative of a Florida estate has many tasks to fulfill. They must locate someone’s will and secure their resources. They must attend probate court hearings to secure the authority to manage the estate. They also have an obligation to handle the financial matters left unaddressed by the decedent.

Any debts that someone owed when they died become the obligation of their estate. Their property becomes the assets of the estate, and those assets need to help fulfill their financial responsibilities. Businesses and individuals owed money by the decedent have the right to seek repayment by making a claim in probate court.

The personal representative must notify lenders and creditors to give them an opportunity to file a probate claim. The failure to follow the right procedures could lead to financial liability for the personal representative.

What are the communication requirements for the personal representative of an estate in Florida regarding notifying creditors about probate proceedings?

They must communicate with creditors in writing

Simply calling a customer service hotline to notify a company about someone’s death does not fulfill a personal representative’s responsibilities. There are technically two means of notifying creditors required under Florida state law.

Personal representatives overseeing financial matters typically need to identify known creditors and provide them with notice of probate proceedings as soon as possible. Credit card companies, student loan lenders and even medical creditors are easy to identify after reviewing someone’s mail and financial records. A personal representative should make every reasonable effort to identify and communicate with known creditors.

They also need to publish official notice about estate administration in a local newspaper. Florida law requires at least two consecutive weeks of published notice to ensure that unknown creditors learn about probate proceedings and have an opportunity to make a claim. They can submit a request for reimbursement for the outstanding balance of a debt or account. Typically, a personal representative needs to handle valid debts before they distribute any property to the beneficiaries of the estate.

Careful adherence to the statutory requirements for Florida probate administration are crucial for the protection of a representative of an estate. Learning about debt-related rules can help those overseeing probate proceedings minimize their personal liability.

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