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What Is The Time Limit For Creditors To File A Claim Against A Deceased Person’s Estate?


When you open a formal probate administration in Florida, it is best practice to wait distributing the decedent’s assets until after all of the debts have been determined.  For this reason, creditors have a specific time limit to file claims within a decedent’s estate. Failure to make a claim within the applicable time limit can result in the creditor’s loss of the right to collect payment against the estate.

If you are a personal representative of an estate or an heir/beneficiary of an estate, you can benefit from hiring a skilled attorney to help you navigate the estate administration or probate process in Florida.

Is a Personal Representative Required to Send Notice to Creditors?

Under Florida law, the estate’s personal representatives must notify all the creditors to whom the decedent may have been indebted to.  The personal representative is required to publish a written notice (the Notice to Creditors) to the creditors in the local newspaper.

The publication should be published once a week for two consecutive weeks, according to Fla. Stat. § 733.2121.  The first date of the publication will start a 3-month creditor period within which all creditors must file their claim.

However, if a creditor is “known” or reasonably ascertainable, the personal representative must also send the Notice to Creditors directly to the creditor.  A creditor is considered reasonably ascertainable when the personal representative can identify the creditor by exercising reasonable diligence.

The personal representative’s failure to send proper notice to any known or reasonably ascertainable creditors may result in the extension of the creditor’s time limit for filing a claim against the estate.

How Long Do Creditors Have to File a Claim Against a Debtor’s Estate?

The time limits for creditors to file claims in an estate in Florida are as follows:

  1. If a creditor is personally served a copy of the Notice to Creditors, they will have until the end of the 3-month creditor period, or 30 days after being served a copy of the Notice to Creditors, whichever date is later; or
  2. If a creditor is not personally served a copy of the Notice and they were NOT known or reasonably ascertainable, then their claim would be barred after the 3-month creditor period has ended
  3. If a creditor is not personally served a copy of the Notice and they WERE known or reasonably ascertainable, then they would have up to two-years from the decedent’s date of death to file a claim against the estate.

The estate will not consider any creditor claims filed outside the applicable time limits.

Can You Object to a Creditor Claim in Florida?

The filing of a creditor claim does not guarantee that the estate will pay the claim. The estate’s personal representative and other interested parties, including beneficiaries and even other creditors of the decedent, can object to a creditor claim.

The time limits for filing an objection to a creditor claim in Florida are:

  • Four (4) months from the date of the first publication of the notice in the newspaper; or
  • 30 days from the date of filing or amendment of a creditor claim.

If you are an interested person considering objecting to a creditor claim or are a creditor who needs to file a claim against a debtor’s estate in Florida, it is advisable to seek the legal counsel of an experienced attorney.  Talk to our attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, to discuss your case. Call 727-471-5868.

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