What is a notice to creditors?

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2019 | Estate Planning

As the administrator of an estate in Florida, you probably know that you have a responsibility to distribute assets to beneficiaries upon the death of the testator. However, while this is important, there is a responsibility that takes precedence. Before you can distribute assets to beneficiaries, you must first satisfy any claims from creditors against the estate. This can be one of the most difficult aspects of the administration process, in part because it can be difficult to identify and contact creditors. For this reason, you must draft and issue a notice to creditors.

According to the 2019 Florida Statutes, a notice to creditors must include the following information:

  • Publication date
  • The decedent’s name
  • Your name and address as the personal representative
  • Your attorney’s name and address
  • The court’s designation and address
  • The estate’s file number

You must make a diligent search to identify the decedent’s creditors and determine their contact information. Once you have made this determination, you must serve a copy of the notice to creditors to each of them.

However, it is possible that the decedent may have creditors that you do not know about or are unable to ascertain. Therefore, you must identify a newspaper published in the county or that generally circulates there. You must then arrange to have the notice published in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks. In addition to the information listed above, the notice must include the time period in which creditors must file claims against the estate. It should also make clear that, after that time period has elapsed, the law bars any creditors from making further claims. The time period varies depending on the circumstances but can range from 30 days to three months.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.