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Florida Probate Statute 733.708: Compromise

The property that someone leaves behind when they pass away is referred to as his (or her) estate. In Florida, all of the loose ends that the decedent left behind such as property and debts must be settled. The decedent’s property must be transferred to family and loved ones based on the terms of his will (if any), or based on Florida’s intestate succession statute. This happens during a probate proceeding in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court in the county in which the decedent lived at the time of his death. The court appoints the personal representative who is charged with managing the day-to-day activities of the estate administration process, including the process of paying estate debts and responding to claims filed against the estate. Whether you are a personal representative, beneficiary, or other interested party in a probate proceeding, to learn more about the estate administration process, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.708- Compromise, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale probate attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who has can offer your experienced representation with all phases of the estate administration process.

Personal Representative

The personal representative is responsible for taking care of the tasks necessary to settle the affairs of a decedent. The personal representative is also sometimes referred to as the executor, executrix, or estate administrator. Even if the personal representative is named in a decedent’s will, he (or she) must still petition the court for appointment. The probate court will only appoint someone who is both eligible to serve and who is qualified to serve.

Before paying estate debts, the personal representative must determine the amount of assets in the estate to pay debts. To do this, the probate assets must be identified, inventoried, and appraised. For more information about inventorying an estate, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer.

Notifying Creditors

The next step in the estate administration process is paying estate debt. First, the personal representative must notify creditors of the decedent’s death. This can be done by publication or personal service. This step is important because the date of notification starts the time running for the deadline by which creditors must file claims. The time period is extremely brief- 30-90 days. Failure to adhere to the timeframe will result in the creditor’s claim being barred. Claims must be in writing, and must include sufficient details such as the name of the creditor, the basis of the claim, and the amount. The personal representative as well as any interested party has the right to object to a claim. If the personal representative determines that the claim is valid, he has up to a year to pay it.

In some instances, the creditor may propose a compromise. Under FL. Stat, section 733.708- Compromise, when a proposal is made to compromise any claim, the probate court may enter an order authorizing the compromise if satisfied that the compromise will be for the best interest of the interested persons. Such an order shall relieve the personal representative of liability or responsibility for the compromise.

There are instances in which the estate does not have sufficient assets to pay it. If this is the case, the personal representative must pay claims based on how they are classified. Under the Florida Probate Code there is an order for priority for how claims must be paid, based on how they are classified. For example, top priority goes to paying expenses related to administering the estate, such as the fee due to the personal representative. The personal representative is entitled to a commission based on the size of the estate. The second priority is expenses related to the funeral of the decedent and burial. The cap on such expenses is $6,000. Debts owed to the government by the estate must be paid after funeral and burial expenses, followed by debts to the government including taxes, court costs, fees, or fines. The next categories are medical expenses, family allowance, back child support, and business debts. The last category includes all other claims, including those founded on judgments or decrees rendered against the decedent during the decedent’s lifetime.

Contact an experienced probate attorney in Fort Lauderdale to discuss the specifics of your claim and the filing rules.

Asset Distribution

The last major step in estate administration is asset distribution. This generally must be completed after all debts are paid, or at least determined. This is to ensure that there are sufficient funds in the estate to pay debts.

If the decedent left a will, the personal representative will use the instructions in the will to guide asset distribution. If the decedent did not leave a will, the personal representative must distribute assets based on Florida’s intestacy rules.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Notifying creditors: § 733.701, Fla. Stat.
  2. Limitations on presentation of claims: § 733.702, Fla. Stat.
  3. Payment of and objection to claims: § 733.705, Fla. Stat.
  4. Executions and levies: § 733.706, Fla. Stat.
  5. Order of payment of expenses and obligations: § 733.707, Fla. Stat.
  6. Limitations on claims against estates: § 733.710, Fla. Stat.
FL. Stat, Section 733.708- Compromise

When a proposal is made to compromise any claim, whether in suit or not, by or against the estate of a decedent or to compromise any question concerning the distribution of a decedent’s estate, the court may enter an order authorizing the compromise if satisfied that the compromise will be for the best interest of the interested persons. The order shall relieve the personal representative of liability or responsibility for the compromise. Claims against the estate may not be compromised until after the time for filing objections to claims has expired.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing clients in matters related to the administration of estates, including issues related to the responsibilities of the personal representative, estate litigation, and other estate matters. If you have questions related to the duties and authority of personal representative, including the requirements of Florida Probate Code, section 733.708- Compromise, we can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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