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Florida Statutes, Section 733.104 Suspension of Statutes of Limitation in Favor of the Personal Representative

When someone dies his (or her) unfinished business must be cared for. It is the job of the decedent’s personal representative in his or her role as representing the decedent’s estate to ensure that the decedent’s outstanding business such as debts that he owes, debts owed to him, claims against him, as well as claims he has against others, are settled. Death does not cause debts and claims to go away. Under Florida’s Probate Code, legal claims survive the death of the decedent. To learn more about the rights and responsibilities of the personal representative related to claims that the decedent may have against someone or claims that someone may have against the decedent, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.104- Suspension of statutes of limitation in favor of the personal representative, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale probate attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who has the experience and resources to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Role of a Personal Representative

A personal representative is the individual or company appointed by the circuit court with jurisdiction over an estate to handle the activities required to wind up a deceased person’s affairs. A personal representative is sometimes referred to as an executor or estate administrator. Typically, if the decedent left a will, the individual the decedent named in the will to serve as personal representative is the person whom the court will appoint. In the absence of a will, anyone who wishes to serve as personal representative must filed a petition. In either case the court will only appoint someone who is both eligible and qualified.

A personal representative’s job is often both time-consuming and complex. In addition to managing the decedent’s property, the personal representative must also pay the decedent’s debts, collect money owed to the estate, and address claims related to the estate. There are a variety of possible claims against an estate. A claim may be a tort claim such as a personal injury suffered in an auto accident or a premises liability claim. A claim may be a contract claim, related to services that were never performed or for which payment was never received. It is the job of the personal representative to defend the estate against claims and to pay only claims that are valid. Similarly, it is up to the personal representative to pursue claims in the place of the decedent. In order to make sure that any claims are filed timely, it is important to understand the statute of limitations. Discuss the matter with an experienced Fort Lauderdale probate attorney who will ensure that all actions in which the estate has an interested are properly and timely addressed.

Suspension of Statutes of Limitation

A statute of limitation is the time period that a plaintiff has to bring a claim against a defendant. For example, for a personal injury case in Florida, the plaintiff typically has four years from the date of the accident that resulted in the injury to file a lawsuit. Failure of file a lawsuit prior to the expiration of the limitations period means that the plaintiff will be legally barred from pursuing the claim.

According to Florida Statutes, section 733.104- Suspension of statutes of limitation in favor of the personal representative, there are, however, special rules that apply in cases where a person entitled to bring an action dies before the expiration of the statute of limitations. When this happens, the cause of action survives the death and the action may be commenced by the decedent’s personal representative. In addition, the statute of limitations for the personal representative bringing such a cause of action is the later of the expiration of normal limitations period, or 12 months after the decedent’s death. For example, in the case of personal injury claim, a the personal representative of a deceased plaintiff would have the late of 4 years after the injury, or 12 months after the plaintiff’s death, even if 12 months exceeds to 4 year period.

As an experienced probate lawyer in Fort Lauderdale will explain, there is a similar rule for cases where the person against who a cause of action exists (defendant) dies before the expiration of the statute of limitations. The cause of action survives.

Related Statutory Provisions 1. Effect of probate: § 733.103, Fla. Stat. 2. Who may be appointed personal representative: § 733.302, Fla. Stat. FL. Stat, Section 733.104: Suspension of Statutes of Limitation in Favor of the Personal Representative
  1. If a person entitled to bring an action dies before the expiration of the time limited for the commencement of the action and the cause of action survives, the action may be commenced by that person’s personal representative before the later of the expiration of the time limited for the commencement of the action or 12 months after the decedent’s death.
  2. If a person against whom a cause of action exists dies before the expiration of the time limited for commencement of the action and the cause of action survives, if a claim is timely filed, the expiration of the time limited for commencement of the action shall not apply.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Just like any legal proceeding, there are timelines that must be followed. Failure to file an action in time will result in the action being time-barred and as a result, the estate may not receive income to which it is entitled. Whether you are a personal representative, beneficiary, heir, or other interested party in a probate proceeding, it is important that you discuss all aspects of the process with an experienced probate attorney who understands the legal requirements related to claims in which the estate has an interest, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.104- Suspension of statutes of limitation in favor of the personal representative. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over two decades of experience representing clients in matters related to probate, estate litigation, estate administration, as well as other estate matters. Contact an attorney in our office at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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