“Quick” Q&A – “What is the creditor period and why do we need to publish a Notice to Creditors?”

In Common Florida Probate Questions by Long

(Updated: 12/11/2014)

Doris from New York wanted to know generally how long probate takes and specifically had a question about the creditor period which is required in certain Florida probate administrations:

“Quick” Question

“What is the creditor period and why do we need to publish a Notice to Creditors?”

“Quick” Answer

Under Florida law, the petitioner or personal representative of an estate must publish Notice to Creditors in the appropriate newspaper, to give creditors a chance to make valid claims against the estate for debt that the decedent incurred during his or her lifetime. This creditor period last for 90 days from the date that the Notice is first published.

“In Florida, under F.S. 735.2063 (Notice to Creditors), a Notice to Creditors may be published when an Order (of Summary Administration) has been entered. Once published, claims by creditors who are not known or are not reasonably ascertainable are forever barred unless those claims are filed within 90 days of publication.

Furthermore, F.S. 735.206 (Summary administration distribution) reads that after 2 years from the death of the decedent, neither the decedent’s estate nor those to whom it may be assigned shall be liable for any claim against the decedent, unless proceedings have been taken for the enforcement of the claim.

Laymen’s translation: If it has been less than 2 years since the decedent died, you must publish a Notice to Creditors (in the legal notices section of the newspaper of the appropriate county).

If you publish Notice on Day 1, then you’ve got to hold your breath until day 91 and hope that no creditors file a claim against the estate. Once you’re past this 90 day creditor period, claims are barred.

Note that any known (ascertainable) creditors must be notified directly otherwise, they may be entitled to an extension of time to file.