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Creditors may file claims in Florida’s probate courts

The personal representative named in a will may face claims from the deceased’s creditors during probate. According to the Florida Bar website, an estate’s representative must also make an effort to notify known or reasonably known creditors.

If creditors wish to pursue unpaid debts, they must submit their claims within three months of receiving notice. The deceased’s relatives, heirs or personal representatives may file objections to creditor claims. and any interested party may also file one. Following an objection, a creditor may pursue a separate lawsuit outside of probate court.

Types of claims that creditors may file against the estate

During probate, the personal representative pays or settles the deceased’s unpaid bills. State and federal taxes generally take priority over other creditors. Representatives may also pay the deceased’s funeral, medical care and estate administration expenses before creditors.

As noted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the deceased’s estate also has responsibility for paying the deceased’s personal debts. Without assets or funds held by the estate, creditors may not recover the amounts owed. Balances on joint credit card bills and cosigned obligations, however, may get paid by a surviving individual whose name also appears on the account.

Probate assets that creditors may recover balances from

With a successful claim, a creditor may recover unpaid balances from money left in the deceased’s bank account. If the deceased had a joint bank account or added a transferable-on-death beneficiary, however, creditors may not recover from a joint checking or savings account. To pay creditors, personal representatives may sell real estate, vehicles or other assets titled in the deceased’s name.

Probate offers verifiable creditors a chance to file claims to recover unpaid debts. Personal representatives may settle those claims, and after resolving them, heirs may receive the deceased’s assets.