A big part of the probate process is properly noticing creditors. The process is dictated by Florida statutes. Florida Statute § 733.2121 reads as follows:
Notice to creditors; filing of claims:
(1) Unless creditors' claims are otherwise barred by s. 733.710 [Editors Note: this bars claims if the decedent died two years before the claim was filed], the personal representative shall promptly publish a notice to creditors. The notice shall 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 [ Editors Note: this statute limits the filing of claims to the later of two periods: First claims must be filed within three months after being published in a local newspaper, or if the creditor is "reasonably ascertainable" then the creditor must file a claim within 30 days after being served by mail with a notice to creditors].
(2) Publication shall be once a week for 2 consecutive weeks, in a newspaper published in the county where the estate is administered or, if there is no newspaper published in the county, in a newspaper of general circulation in that county.
(3) (a) The personal representative shall promptly make a diligent search to determine the names and addresses of creditors of the decedent who are reasonably ascertainable, even if the claims are unmatured, contingent, or unliquidated, and shall promptly serve a copy of the notice on those creditors. Impracticable and extended searches are not required. Service is not required on any creditor who has filed a claim as provided in this part, whose claim has been paid in full, or whose claim is listed in a personal representative's timely filed proof of claim.
The important thing to do in a probate proceeding is to promptly publish a notice to creditors as soon as the personal representative is appointed. The police underlying the probate process is the prompt orderly administration of a decedent's estate. If no notice to creditors is published, then the potential creditor has two years after the date of the decedent's death to file a creditor's claim. For more information contact Cody & Linde, PLLC today.