If all known or ascertainable creditors have been properly served with a copy of the Notice to Creditors, all claims against the decedent that existed prior to the decedent's death not filed with the Court within three months from the first publication of the Notice to Creditors are barred, except claims based on federal law. Review with your attorney all claims that have been filed and determine those to which objections should be filed. Generally, creditors are paid before heirs inherit their money, but there are exceptions.

When there isn't enough money to pay all the creditors, this is the order in which claims are paid:

(a) Class 1.--Costs, expenses of administration, and compensation of personal representatives and their attorneys' fees. [The more jaded among us would say that the lawyer legislators drafted a law ensuring the lawyers got paid first, but in actuality, if the lawyer and P.R. (Executor) weren't paid first, there would be no incentive to do the work to secure the funds for burial and final medical expenses, which would result in the Government having to bury many people as indigent, when in fact there were some assets available satisfy debts.]

(b) Class 2.--Reasonable funeral, interment, and grave-marker expenses...not to exceed ... $6,000.

(c) Class 3.--Debts and taxes with preference under federal law (and Medicaid, i.e., nursing home bills paid by the Government).

(d) Class 4.--...medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness of the decedent, including compensation of persons attending him.

(e) Class 5.--Family allowance. (Up to $18,000, for a spouse and/or kids)

(f) Class 6.--Arrearage from court-ordered child support.

(g) Class 7.--Debts acquired after death by the continuation of the decedent's business...but only to the extent of the assets of that business.

(h) Class 8.--All other claims...

Exempt Property - $1,000 of personal property is exempt per the Florida Constitution. Additionally, Florida Statute §732.402 exempts up to $20,000 of household furniture, furnishings, and appliances in the decedent’s usual place of abode, also up to two vehicles (with some restrictions) and certain pre-paid college programs.