Notice to Creditors in a Florida Probate
August 10, 2021
A notice to creditors is a newspaper publication. It is a public announcement in the county where the decedent died. This announcement is done by the appointed personal representative (through their lawyer), which is done to alert or give notice to a decedent’s potential creditors about the death and that there is a probate proceeding which is presently being administered.
Pursuant to Fla. Stat. §733.2121, the notice is to contain “the name of the decedent, the file number of the estate, the designation and address of the court in which the proceedings are pending, the name and address of the personal representative, the name and address of the personal representative’s attorney, and the date of first publication. The notice shall state that creditors must file claims against the estate with the court during the time periods set forth in s. 733.702, or be forever barred.”
The notice must be published once a week for two consecutive weeks, in the local newspaper where the decedent died. In the event there is no local newspaper, then it must be published in any newspaper that is in circulation in the county. There is a small cost associated with the publication, compensable from the estate, and the amount of the cost varies depending on the county and the newspaper where the notice is published.
Creditors who would like to make a claim against a decedent’s estate are required to file their claim with the Florida probate court within 3 months after the date of the first publication. If a claim is filed after that 3-month window, the claim will not be valid. Sometimes a creditor may be permitted an extension of time to file their claim if it is late, by properly moving the court for such extension. However, creditors have just 2 years to file a claim after the decedent’s date of death, or they are time-barred by the statute of repose, Fla. Stat. §733.710.
The notice to creditors is just one small step in the Florida probate process, whether in a simple estate or a more complex estate with multiple beneficiaries or difficult-to-distribute assets. Moreover, whether as a potential claimant or as a personal representative, consulting with your trusted Florida probate lawyer to assist in the probate process is essential.