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How Do You File a Claim If You’re a Creditor to a Decedent?

How Do You File a Claim If You’re a Creditor to a Decedent? 

Orlando and Winter Haven, Florida, attorney L. Reed Bloodworth discusses filing a claim as a creditor to a decedent. Reed is Founder and CEO of Bloodworth Law and handles probate and estate litigation for creditors, businesses, families, and individuals in Florida. 

Probate is the formal court-supervised process whereby a person’s will is proven to be valid and complied with.  A personal representative is a person approved by the court to carry out the probate procedure.

Duties Of A Personal Representative

The first thing a personal representative does is seek to open the probate with the court by filing a petition for administration. He or she will also file the decedent’s will and death certificate with the court. Among the most important duties are:

  • Serve the Notice of Administration on all of the beneficiaries, surviving spouse, and potentially other interested persons
  • Gather all of the assets of the estate
  • Determine all of the creditors of the decedent
  • Settle debts with creditors
  • Pay any owed estate taxes
  • Distribute the remaining assets of the estate pursuant to the will
  • Close the estate

Notice of Creditors

When a person passes away with debt owed to creditors, a Notice of Creditors is published in newspapers to inform people and business entities with whom the decedent held debt. 

After a death, a personal representative sends out a notice to all creditors. The creditors respond by filing a claim against the debt owed.

Creditor litigation occurs if the personal representative objects to paying a particular creditor claim.

Creditor Claim Timing Important

Creditors who are owed money by the decedent are then required to submit a timely statement of claim – a creditor claim — in the probate estate in order to pursue the satisfaction of debts. 

The creditor claim must be filed on or before the later of three months after the time of the first publication of the Notice to Creditors. Or, 30 days from the date of service on the creditor as to any reasonably ascertainable creditor. 

Statement of Claim

The creditor files a statement of claim with the clerk of the court.

Legitimate debt claims should be paid or negotiated, but not before the creditor period has run out. Additionally, a creditor can probate an estate within two years of death to pursue payment.

Claim Objections

If the personal representative objects to the claim, he or she may file an objection by sending notice of the objection to the creditor. 

The objection must be filed on or before the expiration of four months from the first publication of notice to creditors or within 30 days from the timely filing or amendment of a claim, whichever occurs later according to Florida Statutes. 

The creditor has 30 days to file a separate independent lawsuit to pursue the claim.

Paid or Negotiated 

If an objection to the claim is not filed by the personal representative, the claim must be paid or negotiated with a debtor.

Satisfaction of Claim

Once a claim is satisfied, a satisfaction of claim is filed by the creditor.

The Bloodworth Law team works with creditors who are owed money by decedents, and with personal representatives’ estates facing creditor claims responsibilities.

If you have questions about creditor claims, talk with Reed about how Bloodworth Law Estate Litigation Team can help you, your family, or your business. 

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