Florida Probate and Wrongful Death: Proceeds may not be claimed for unpaid child support

In Florida probate, proceeds from a wrongful death action are not subject to the claims on creditors including unpaid child support. In Re: The estate of Johnny Glenn Barton (631 So.2d 315) the Second District court of appeals reasoned that since the recovery for wrongful death has nothing to do with the injuries sustained by the decedent, but is due to the benefit that the beneficiaries would have received if the decedent had not been killed.

A wrongful death action does not include an award for medical expenses and thus the proceeds of such settlement do not include money for that. A Florida Wrongful death action is to compensate the survivor for their own losses, separate from their departed loved-one.

The appeals court held that it was wrong for back child support to be paid from the proceeds from the wrongful death action. If you have a wrongful death action it is important to use a Florida Probate Attorney who is familiar with Florida Probate.

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