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Dealing with creditors in Florida after the death of a loved one

The loss of a loved one is never easy and the mourning process can be doubling difficult if debt collectors come calling. Know your rights and secure the assistance of a Florida probate lawyer to help you through the process.
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    February 25, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Dealing with creditors in Florida after the death of a loved one

Article provided by The Law Office of Silverman, Vorhis & Mack
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When you and your family are still reeling from the loss of a family member, the last issue you want to deal with is outstanding debts of the decedent. Unfortunately, creditors may engage in unethical and, sometimes, illegal tactics in attempts to collect from unsuspecting family members.

When a loved one dies, it is very difficult to know what to do. During the overwhelming mourning process, there are many pressing issues competing for a family's attention. Such issues may include:
-Probate administration
-Personal representative duties
-Court appointments of trustees, conservators, guardians or executors
-Resolving family disputes
-Debt collection attempts

As a columnist for Huffington Post pointed out in a recent blog, it is important to know your rights after a loved one dies with outstanding debts. Just a month after her husband's death, she received a terse letter claiming that while the debt collector was sorry for her loss, it ordered that she pay all of his debts incurred prior to their marriage within 30 days or she would be sued.

While the woman knew that she was not responsible for these debts, many unsuspecting and mourning family members are not aware of their rights regarding debt collection.

Debt collection after death

One of the primary reasons for the Florida probate process is to ensure that the debts of the deceased are correctly paid. Laws outline who must receive notification of a death, allowing creditors a specific period of time to file claims with the court. If the personal representative of the estate disputes a debt, an objection may be filed with the probate court and the debt collector must file a separate legal action.

Certain types of debts must be paid first -- including taxes and probate expenses -- and other debts are payable only if there are sufficient estate assets. If a loved one's estate is insufficient to pay all of his or her debts, some creditors cannot legally collect what they are owed. Unfortunately, those unsatisfied creditors may then turn to surviving family members for collection even when the family member is not responsible for the debt.

It is important to know that, in Florida, certain debts of a loved one are not collectable from the surviving family. Additionally, even if a creditor's claim is valid, harassment, threats or abusive tactics from a debt collector are never permissible.

Consult a lawyer

If you are facing or dealing with the death of a loved one, consult an experienced probate lawyer. A Florida attorney knowledgeable about local probate and estate laws can help you through the probate process, maximizing the amount of assets your family will be able to keep after your loved one is gone.

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