When a Florida Wrongful Death action is settled, the money either goes to the estate of the decedent (the person who has died) or to the decedent’s survivors. If the settlement is small, it can be handled with a summary administration. When this happens, the settlement money becomes an asset of the estate and can be subject to the claims of creditors. With small wrongful death settlements, the potential risk from creditors needs to be evaluated to see if the savings in probate fees makes it worth while to consider a summary administration. It is important for a Jacksonville beneficiary of the estate to sit down with a Jacksonville Probate Attorney who can guide you through the probate administration process.
Probate is the court supervised proceeding for distributing the estate assets of the person who died. The probate process also identifies creditors who have valid claims against the estate. If a wrongful death settlement is listed as an estate asset, then it may be susceptible to the valid claims of creditors.
If you are a Jacksonville survivor under the Florida Wrongful Death Statute, protect your settlement award by knowing what estate assets are exempt and protected from the claims of creditors. Talk with an attorney experienced in Florida Probate cases.