Creditors of a deceased person generally must submit a written claim against the estate within 3 months of publication of a notice of administration, or 30 days of service of the notice if service is required, their claim will typically be barred. Such claims are usually submitted on a Florida Bar approved form after the commencement of the probate proceeding.
In a recent Florida case, the decedent entered into a contract to sell real property, but he died before the closing. The buyer filed a Petition for Administration for the decedent since the family did not commence a probate proceeding. In his petition, the buyer included the details of the contract and its claim to enforce the contract. After the estate was opened, the buyer did not submit a formal claim against the estate. Subsequent in the administration, the appointed personal representative sought to sell the real property pursuant to the original contract. One of the beneficiaries objected, claiming that the creditor's rights under the contract were barred because he did not timely file a claim. The trial court agreed, and denied the petition to sell the property.
The appellate court reversed the trial court. The court noted that almost all of the elements of what must go into a claim were included in the buyer's Petition for Administration. Since the law does not require a particular form of claim, the Petition for Administration was held to be a qualified (and timely claim).
The appellate court also noted pursuant to changes in the law, a claim filed BEFORE the notice of administration is published is timely filed.
In re Estate of Walter J. Koshuba, 2nd DCA, Case No. 2D06-5500, October 10, 2007