The death of a loved one is not only tragic. It also carries legal consequences. If the decedent had debts, those have to be paid. And to make matters just a bit more complicated, two sets of rules apply. Known creditors must be mailed a notice by the estate, and have 30 days to file their claim for payment once they receive it. Others must rely on the notice being published and have three months from publication to make themselves known.
But what happens if a known creditor is not mailed the notice? One school of thought is that they then have to rely on the publication of the notice and have three months. Another version says that, since the notice was never mailed, their time to respond was never triggered, and they have two years, the most the Probate Code gives any creditor no matter the circumstances.
The Florida Supreme Court has now resolved this conflict and gave known creditors who are not personally notified two years to put in their claim.
The Florida Probate Code is not the worst written set of laws on our state’s books. Yet questions still arise that are ripe for appeal. This was one. There will be others. Appellate counsel have their place at the probate table.