Wallace v. Watkins

Wallace v. Watkins, 253 So.3d 1204 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018)

In this decision, the Court considered, among other things, the applicability of the 2 year non-claim period to actions brought to determine the beneficial interest of heirs. Years after an order of summary administration was entered, purported heirs of the decedent petitioned to reopen the summary administration because they argued they should have received notice of the petition for summary administration since they were easily ascertainable known heirs of the decedent. The beneficiaries of the order of summary administration argued that the petition to reopen was time barred because it had been over 2 years since the order of summary administration was entered. 

The Court held that Florida's nonclaim statute, F.S. 733.710(1) only applies to claims brought against the estate by creditors, and that it does not apply to the beneficial interest of heirs. It noted that the summary administration statute, F.S. 735.206, further clearly delineates between the claims of creditors and the interests of heirs and found that the summary administration nonclaim provision only bars claims "against the decedent," not actions by heirs who were not included in the summary administration to enforce their rights.

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