DETAILS ON NOTICE TO CREDITORS IN FLORIDA PROBATE ESTATES
The Personal Representative of an Estate must promptly publish a Notice to Creditors pursuant to Florida Statute 733.2121. The Notice should contain the following:
1) The name of the decedent;
2) The file number of the estate;
3) The designation and address of the Court in which the case has been filed;
4) The name and address of the Personal Representative of the Estate;
5) The name and address of the Personal Representative’s attorney; and
6) The date of the first publication.
The notice must include a statement that creditors have only those periods of time established in Florida Statutes 733.702 and 733.710 to file their claims against the estate.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 733.2121(2), the Notice to Creditors must be published once a week for two consecutive weeks, in a newspaper published in the county where the Estate is being administered, or if there is no newspaper published in that county, in a newspaper of general circulation in that county in Florida.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 733.2121(3)(a), the Personal Representative of the Estate must make a diligent search to determine the name and addresses of creditors of the decedent, even if the claims are not yet due (unmatured, contingent or unliquidated). Notifying the Post Office that delivered mail to the decedent to forward the decedent’s mail to the Personal Representative is helpful in determining the names and addresses of some of the decedent’s creditors, as the Personal Representative may then receive billing statements, credit card statements, and bank statements belonging to the decedent. Prompt notice must be sent to known creditors (whose are creditors of the decedent known to the Personal Representative that do not require extensive searches to locate) and a copy of the Notice to Creditors should be sent to them directly. Pursuant to Florida Statute 733.2121(3)(a), a written notice is not required to be sent to any creditor who has already filed a claim against the estate, or whose claim has been paid in full, or whose claim is listed in a Personal Representative’s timely filed Proof of Claim.
If the decedent was 55 years of age or older at the time of death, the Personal Representative must also send a copy of the Notice of Creditors to the Agency for Health Care Administration within three (3) months after the first publication of the Notice to Creditors, unless the Agency for Health Care Administration has already filed a Statement of Claim against the Estate pursuant to Florida Statute 733.2121(3)(d).
If the Florida Department of Revenue has not previously received a copy of the Notice to Creditors, then sending them a copy of the Inventory filed in the Estate shall be considered the same as service of a copy of the Notice to Creditors pursuant to Florida Statute 733.2121(3)(e).
Proof of Publication of the Notice to Creditors provided by the newspaper must be filed with the Court within 45 days of the date of the first publication.
Within four (4) months after the Notice to Creditors is first published, the Personal Representative must file a Verified Statement with the Court, stating that they performed a diligent search for the names and addresses of all of the decedent’s creditors who may have a claim against the Estate, provide a list of names and addresses of the known creditors, and indicate whether the creditor was served with the Notice of Creditors or otherwise received the information contained in the Notice.
It is imperative that the proper procedure is followed in the preparation and publication of the Notice to Creditors, the preparation and filing of the Proof of Publication and the preparation and filing of the Verified Statement of the Personal Representative, and these documents should be prepared by a competent probate attorney retained by the Personal Representative of the Estate to insure that the applicable Florida Statutes have been followed.