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Florida Probate Basics - Paying Creditors

The Personal Representative is responsible for gathering the assets of the decedent into the probate estate and safeguarding the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. However, before the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries, the Personal Representative has to determine if there are any creditors of the decedent.

Creditors are identified in two different ways. The Personal Representative publishes a Notice to Creditors in the newspaper. This is the public notice that tells anyone who feels they are owed money by the decedent that now is their chance to present a claim for payment. In addition to publishing the public Notice to Creditors, the Personal Representative has to send an individual Notice to Creditors to any known creditors or creditors that it is reasonable to expect that the Personal Representative would know about by reviewing the records of the decedent.

Once the claims are filed, creditors are paid based upon which priority class they fall into. The priority classes are set by the Florida statutes. If there are enough assets in the probate estate, then all the creditors with valid claims are paid. If there are not enough assets in the probate estate then all the priority class 1 creditors with valid claims are paid and then if there is money left the chance for payment moves to priority class 2 creditors with valid claims etc.

In general, once all the creditors are paid then the remaining assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries. However, there may be certain assets that are considered exempt from the claims of creditors and the Personal Representative is responsible for working with the probate attorney to identify these assets and follow the procedures necessary to have them deemed exempt assets.

It is very important that the Personal Representative closely follow all the steps in the creditor identification and payment process because the Personal Representative could be personally liable for payments that are paid or denied inappropriately.

  • Why Choose
    Our Firm?

    We limit the number of clients that we have at one time, allowing us to focus on your case.

    Personalized Representation
  • Know the
    Benefits

    Find out if you and your family can benefit from our elder law planning services!

    More Information
  • Dedicated & Experienced

    Our firm exclusively handles elder law concerns so your family can obtain peace of mind.

    Meet Your Attorney
  • Complimentary Consultation

    Let us help. Request your consultation today and we will be in touch.

    Contact Us Now

Contact Us

Edwards Elder Law, P.A.
St. Petersburg Elder Law Attorney
Located at: 2510 1st Ave. N.,
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
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Phone: (727) 755-5808
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