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Florida law defines the types of notices that are to be given in the administration of a Last Will and Testament in a Florida probate court proceeding. What notice a party receives, and what notices must be sent, are governed by Florida probate statutes, procedures and probate rules.

What Information is Provided in Florida Probate Notices?

In any Florida probate matter, there are two major areas of information that need to be shared with anyone interested in the property that makes up the decedent’s estate: first, there is general information about the estate itself; and second, there is specific information about the probate court proceedings and the issues that are being determined as part of the probate process.

Florida probate administrations are court cases where someone’s Last Will and Testament,  as well as other end of life estate planning issues, are administrated in a judicial process with the purpose of transferring the decedent’s property according to his or her wishes.  General information about a probate matter includes things like the date the probate matter was filed; the name of the personal representative representing the decedent’s estate (with contact information); and other overall basics. Specific information about a probate case focuses upon targets like a particular piece of property or the rights of a particular creditor or a particular claim.

Some of this information is shared under the Florida Probate Code through one of two types of notice documents: the Notice of Administration or the Notice to Creditors. In accordance with Florida Statute 733.2123, and the probate rules, each of these notices must be sent to a party in a specific way (in writing, within a set time frame, by regular mail, by certified mail, etc.).

1. What is a Notice of Administration?

Pursuant to Florida Statute 733.212, the personal representative must promptly serve a copy of the notice of administration on:

(a) The decedent’s surviving spouse;

(b) stated beneficiaries;

(c) The trustee of any trust described in Florida Statute 733.707(3) and each qualified beneficiary of the trust as defined in Florida Statute 736.0103, if each trustee is also a personal representative of the estate; and

(d) Persons who may be entitled to exempt property.

The Florida Notice of Administration must provide details on specific information as specified by law. The Notice of Administration must give notice of the following:

  • the name of the decedent (the person who has passed away),
  • the file number of the estate,
  • the designation and address of the court in which the proceedings are pending,
  • whether the estate is governed by a Last Will and Testament (i.e., testate or intestate),
  • the date of the will and any codicils,
  • the name and address of the personal representative,
  • the name and address of the personal representative’s attorney, and
  • an explanation that the fiduciary lawyer-client privilege applies with respect to the personal representative and any attorney employed by the personal representative.

Key in the Notice of Administration is information given to those who may challenge the probate in some way. The Notice of Administration must also provide noticed that any interested person has 3 months from service of the notice to assert their objection that challenges the validity of the will, the qualifications of the personal representative, the venue, or the jurisdiction of the court.

For other components to a Florida Notice of Administration, see Florida Statute 733.212(2).

2. What is a Notice to Creditors?

Florida Statute 733.2121 in Chapter 733 of the Florida Probate Code controls Notices to Creditors. The Notice to Creditor must be published once a week for two weeks in a row “…in a newspaper published in the county where the estate is administered or, if there is no newspaper published in the county, in a newspaper of general circulation in that county.”

Under Florida law, the personal representative of the estate must provide a specific, detailed notice to creditors — but not all creditors have valid claims against the estate. Some creditors’ claims will be barred under Florida Statute 722.702 and 733.710. For those creditors who have valid claims for payment against the estate in probate, the Notice to Creditors must be sent that includes:

  • the name of the decedent,
  • the file number of the estate,
  • the designation and address of the court in which the proceedings are pending,
  • the name and address of the personal representative,
  • the name and address of the personal representative’s attorney, and
  • the date of first publication of the Notice to Creditors.

Each notice must explain to the creditors that they have a statutory deadline to meet in filing their claims against the estate. These deadlines are set forth in Florida Statute 733.702. If the creditor misses the deadline, then that creditor’s claim is barred and uncollectable.

The personal representative has to search for creditors as a part of the representative’s duties to the estate. How extensive that search must be, and the consequences of a personal representative failing to discover a creditor, is explained in Florida 733. 2121(2).

If you believe that you may be entitled to, but did not receive, notice of a probate administration or a probate proceeding, or if you have issues concerning a probate notice from a Florida personal representative, then it may be in your best interest to contact a Florida probate lawyer to learn your legal rights and remedies under Florida’s probate law.