Florida Probate Statute 733.703: Form and Manner of Presenting Claim
When someone passes away, the property that he (or she) leaves behind is called his estate. The property left in a decedent’s probate estate is subject to the probate court supervised administration process called estate administration. A court appointed personal representative is responsible for tying up the loose ends in the estate. This includes paying debts owed by the estate. However, there are a set of rules that the personal representative must follow related to the payment of debts, including notice, timeframe, and how a claim must be presented. Whether you are a personal representative, beneficiary, or other interested party, to learn more about the Estate administration process, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.703- Form and manner of presenting claim, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale estate attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who has the experience and skill to ensure that the claim process is managed in manner that is consistent with the requirements of the Florida Probate Code are followed.Responsibilities of the Personal Representative
The personal representative has primary responsibility for winding up a decedent’s estate. He (or she) is appointed by the Florida Probate Court, and is activities are overseen by the court. If the decedent left a will, the decedent would have nominated the personal representative in the will. However, the court will still have to review the qualifications of the person and, if qualified, formally appoint the person. If the decedent did not leave a will, then anyone interested in serving as personal representative can petition the court. However, the court will only appoint a petitioner who is both qualified and eligible.
Paying estate debts is one of the main activities of the personal representative. However, as a skilled Fort Lauderdale estate attorney will explain, before debts can be paid, the personal representative must figure out the amount of assets in the estate available to pay estate debt and expenses. Thus, the personal representative must identify probate assets, inventory them, and appraise them. If there are not sufficient assets in the estate to pay all of the debt, the personal representative may need to sell estate property.
It is important to understand that only property that is part of the decedent’s probate estate is subject to the administration process. If you have additional questions related to inventorying estate assets and which property is part of the probate estate, contact an experienced estate lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.Paying Estate Debts
Under Florida law, there is a process that the personal representative must follow in paying estate debts and expenses. First, he (or she) must notify creditors. This is done in two ways. Certain creditors must be served with notice. The personal representative must also publish a notice. The date of service and publications is important as it determines the timeframe in which creditors are required to file their claims. Claims must be filed within 3 months from the date of the first publication of the notice to creditors or 30 days after the date of service to the creditor.
There is a specific manner in which claims must be filed. Under FL. Stat, section 733.703- Form and manner of presenting claim, claims must be in writing. Once the claim is filed, the personal representative will either pay it or object to it. Or, another person may file an objection to a claim. If there is an objection to a claim, the creditor must file an independent action. In other words, the creditor must file a lawsuit in civil court. If the personal representative determines that a claim will be paid, he has a year to do so.
If there are not sufficient assets to pay all debts, then the personal representative will pay valid claims based on who they are classified and where the classification falls in the statutory order of payment of debts and expenses.Related Statutory Provisions
- Notifying creditors: § 733.701, Fla. Stat.
- Limitations on presentation of claims: § 733.702, Fla. Stat.
- Amendment of claims: § 733.704, Fla. Stat.
- Payment of and objection to claims: § 733.705, Fla. Stat.
- Executions and levies: § 733.706, Fla. Stat.
- A creditor shall file a written statement of the claim. No additional charge may be imposed by a claimant who files a claim against the estate.
- Within the time allowed by s. 733.702, the personal representative may file a proof of claim of all claims he or she has paid or intends to pay. A claimant whose claim is listed in a personal representative’s proof of claim shall be deemed to have filed a statement of the claim listed. Except as provided otherwise in this part, the claim shall be treated as if the claimant had filed it.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing clients in matters related to probate and estate administration. If you have questions related to the duties and authority of personal representative with respect to paying claims filed against the estate, including the requirements of Florida Probate Code, section 733.703- Form and manner of presenting claim, we can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.