Sometimes the executor of an Estate can ignore an old debt, because the Florida limitations period (usually four or five years, but not always) has expired. But that works both ways- an estate cannot collect on a promissory note made out to the deceased person if too many years have passed.
Recently, a further complication has arisen in the form of Medicare set asides under federal law, and the obligations the law places on attorneys for both wrongful death claimants and the defendants and their insurers. The law is relatively new and still evolving.
There is a “glitch” in Florida law which creates legal exposure to a Trustee for two years following the settlor’s death if no probate is done.
Here are a few tips for someone who finds themself suddenly faced with the overwhelming task of handling a probate estate in Florida: 1) Have the mail forwarded to your house; 2) Check the insurance overage if there is a home; and 3) Don't pay creditors right away.
We successfully negotiate settlements with many creditors that do file a claim. So paying your father's $5,000 in medical bills right away could be an overpayment of hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Contact a probate attorney before you pay any creditors of the estate for more guidance on what to pay, when to pay it, and the limitation of your responsibilities as personal representative.