Florida Probate Statute 735.2063: Notice to Creditors
In Florida, there are two types of administration procedures for settling the affairs of a decedent: formal administration and summary administration. Summary administration is a much less complicated form of administration that typically takes no more than a few weeks. Formal administration tends to take months, can be expensive, and is more likely to involve complications such as will contests and other types of estate litigation. However, in addition to ensuring that the assets of the estate are transferred to the appropriate people, both processes have another shared goal: to ensure that estate debt is paid. To learn more about how creditors are paid when there is summary administration including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 735.2063- Notice to creditors, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. With over 20 years of experience representing clients in estate matters, we have the experience, skill, and knowledge to ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the administration process.Initiating Summary Administration
Summary administration is not an option for all estates. Generally it is reserved for small estates that have probate property that does not exceed $75,000. The value of the decedent's protected homestead is excluded when determining the value of the assets in the estate. Even if the estate has assets that exceed the $75,000 threshold, an estate will still qualify for summary administration if the decedent has been dead for more than two years.
To initiate summary administration, someone must file a petition for summary administration with the probate court that has jurisdiction over the decedent’s estate. According to Florida probate code, only a beneficiary or, in the case of a testate decedent, a person nominated as personal representative in the decedent’s will, has the legal right to file a petition for summary administration. If he or she is not the petitioner, the surviving spouse must sign the petition.
The petition must include facts about the petitioner, the decedent, and the decedent’s estate, including:
- Petitioner. The name and address of the petitioner as well as a statement about the petitioner’s interest in the estate.
- Decedent. The name of the decedent and his (or her) date of death. To ensure that the petition is filed with the appropriate probate court, it must also include the county in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of his death.
- Surviving spouse. The petition must include the name of the surviving spouse, if any. The surviving spouse must also sign the petition.
- Beneficiaries. The petition must include the names of beneficiaries and their relationship to the decedent. As a Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer will explain, this is important to ensure that all those entitled to a distribution receive it. Otherwise, the petitioner may face liability.
- Assets. To ensure that the estate qualifies for summary administration, the petition must include a statement of the value of the assets in the estate.
- Distribution. The petition must include a description of how the assets will be distributed
Once the probate court reviews and approves a petition for summary judgment, it will issue an order of summary administration. At this point beneficiaries are entitled to immediate distribution of assets. The options available to creditors for getting paid out of estate assets become limited. For example, bona fide purchasers from distributees of property of the estate are entitled to take such property free of all claims of creditors of the decedent. If you have questions related to the protections from creditors that Florida law affords distributees, contact an experienced estate administration attorney in Florida.Notifying Creditors
Once an order of summary administration has been entered, the petitioner must publish a notice to all creditors. The notice must include the name of the decedent, the file number of the estate, and the address of the court in charge of the proceeding. The notice needs to notify all people having claims against the estate that an order for summary administration has been entered in the court. The notice will also specify the actual market value of the estate and the details of those who have been assigned. According to FL. Stat, section 735.2063- Notice to creditors, when the petitioner submits proof of publication of the notice in the court, all claims of the creditors against the estate of the deceased who are not known will be forever barred unless the claims and demands are filed with the court within 3 months after the first publication of the notice.Related Statutory Provisions
- Summary administration; nature of proceedings: § 735.201, Fla. Stat.
- May be administered in the same manner as other estates: § 735.202, Fla. Stat.
- Petition for summary administration: § 735.203, Fla. Stat.
- Filing of petition: § 735.2055, Fla. Stat.
- Any person who has obtained an order of summary administration may publish a notice to creditors according to the relevant requirements of s. 733.2121, notifying all persons having claims or demands against the estate of the decedent that an order of summary administration has been entered by the court. The notice shall specify the total value of the estate and the names and addresses of those to whom it has been assigned by the order.
- If proof of publication of the notice is filed with the court, all claims and demands of creditors against the estate of the decedent who are not known or are not reasonably ascertainable shall be forever barred unless the claims and demands are filed with the court within 3 months after the first publication of the notice.
Whether you are a petitioner, beneficiary, or creditor, it is important that you understand Florida’s rules related to summary administration, including the rights of creditors to get paid from estate assets. Because the rules are very strict and the timeline short, if you have questions about creditor’s rights or any other aspect of summary administration, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced estate administration attorney serving Fort Lauderdale at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We understand the rules and requirements of summary administration, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 735.2063- Notice to creditors. We can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.