How Do I Ensure Creditors Don’t Have a Claim in My Estate?
How can a notice to creditors help manage my estate?
If your loved one has passed, and you are the executor of their will — their personal representative — it is your responsibility to send out notices to creditors, to make sure that they do not have a claim in the assets that will get distributed. This is an important aspect of estate planning that a Gainesville elder law attorney can help you with.
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“A notice to creditors is actually an official form that’s approved by the Florida bar that if I was a personal representative in an estate or the executor--now we call them personal representatives--if I was the personal representative in an estate I want to make sure that I notice all the potential creditors. I have to make a diligent search to see what creditors are out there. If I know that I’d get the mail, and I’m looking through my dad’s stuff, and I see that there’s a bill to a hospital or that they had Medicare, we want to make sure we notice Medicare, and then make sure they don’t have a claim.
Those would be potential creditors in the case, and as the personal representative, I would have a duty to send out a physical notice to creditors, to them, saying, ‘Hey, you got 30 days to file a claim in the estate.’ Once I do that and once I publish in the newspaper, then the claims period ends. After that point, if I’ve done my job or I’ve diligently sent out all those notices, done my stuff in the newspaper, then those claims of creditors can be waived.
After that time, if you’ve done your job right, you diligently searched, you sent out your creditor letters, you published in the newspaper, then the door is closed and creditors cannot come back later on and say, ‘Hey, I was owed $100,000. I didn’t make a claim in the estate.’ If you did your job right, that claim from that creditor can be extinguished.”