A Notice To Creditors is one of the first actions taken by a Personal Representative (PR) settling an estate in Probate.
What are the requirements?
Florida Statute states Unless creditors’ claims are otherwise barred by s. 733.710, the personal representative(PR) shall promptly publish a notice to creditors. The notice shall contain;
the name of the decedent,
the file number of the estate,
the designation and address of the court in which the proceedings are pending,
the name and address of the personal representative,
the name and address of the personal representative’s attorney,
and the date of first publication.
The Notice To creditors must run for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper in the county in which the probate case is filed. This does not mean it needs to be in the largest paper in the county. If there is a local legal paper published in the county that is sufficient for notification. For example, in Sumter County, Florida you could publish the notice in the Villages Daily Sun or you could opt to publish in the Sumter County Times at a much lower expense. The creditors have 90 days to file a claim against the estate from the date of the first publication. If the creditor does not file in a timely manner than the claim is not allowed as a charge against the estate.
Things to be aware of with creditors
Some creditors may require a copy of the Death Certificate for their files. So be prepared with extra copies of the Death Certificate.
Also do not think that what the creditor files is what the creditor will accept. In a probate case my sister and I were PRs and we negotiated a total write off the debt or a greatly reduced settlement of the debt. This left a much bigger pot of gold for the heirs. If a creditor does accept a lesser settlement be sure to get that in writing so it can be filed with the rest of the probate documents when it comes time to close the estate.
When a Notice is not required
If the decedent died more than two years ago then all creditors are denied the ability to file a claim against the estate.