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In Florida, what is the order of payment of claims against a probate estate?

When determining the order of payment, a Personal Representative of a Florida probate estate must look at eight classes of claims. Each class of claims is paid in descending order before progressing to the next class.

In Florida, the Personal Representative of a formal probate estate is directed by statute to pay claims in the following descending order:

(a) Class 1.-Costs and expenses of administration, and compensation of personal representatives and their attorneys.

(b) Class 2.--Reasonable funeral, interment, and grave marker expenses, not to exceed the aggregate of $6,000.

(c) Class 3.--Debts and taxes with preference under federal law and claims in favor of the state for unpaid court costs, fees, or fines.

(d) Class 4.--Reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness of the decedent, including compensation of persons attending the decedent.

(e) Class 5.--Family allowance; not to exceed $18,000.

(f) Class 6.--Arrearage from court-ordered child support.

(g) Class 7.--Debts acquired after death by the continuation of the decedent's business but only to the extent of the assets of that business.

(h) Class 8.--All other claims, including those founded on judgments or decrees rendered against the decedent during the decedent's lifetime.

A Personal Representative may often need the assistance of a Florida probate attorney in order to sort out where claims fit within this set of eight classes.

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Attorney Michael Lins
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