When a person dies and a probate is opened in Florida, expenses and claims of creditors get paid in a certain order. This becomes especially important to understand when there are not enough assets (i.e. money) to go around.
When a Florida resident dies and owes creditors (such a credit card balances or medical bills), Florida probate procedures establish a mechanism to resolve those creditor claims. The process starts by having the Personal Representative of the estate sign a document called a "Notice to Creditors." The Notice informs creditors of the pendency of the probate estate and of the deadline for filing a creditor claim in the probate.
In addition to the time frame set forth in Florida's non-claim statute (contained in Section 733.702 of Florida Statutes), the Florida Probate Code establishes a two-year statute of limitations for asserting claims against the decedent and the decedent's probate estate.
In Florida, the publication of a Notice to Creditors triggers a deadline for creditors of a probate estate to file their claims.
The eight classes of obligations in a probate estate are paid, beginning with class 1 and proceeding downward . Each class must paid in full before proceeding to the next class.
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.