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What is the "Trust Exception" to the statute of limitations applicable to probate creditors' claims and when does it apply?

Scott v. Reyes, 2005 WL 2172231 (Fla. 2d DCA September 9, 2005) (Trial Court Affirmed)

A little-known "exception" to F.S. § 733.702, the statute of limitations applicable to creditor claims against an estate, is the so-called "trust exception" or "equitable title to specifically identifiable property exception." In this case the Second District Court of Appeal provided the following summary of just what the "trust exception" is and when it applies:

Considering the changes to prior law effected by the adoption of the Code and the new statutory language concerning the filing of claims, we summarized the current state of the law relative to the trust exception as follows:


[T]he "trust exception" or "equitable title to specifically identifiable property" exception to the requirements of the nonclaim statute, as those exceptions pertain to recovery of property from an estate, have effectively been limited to those situations where the decedent clearly held the property on behalf of the actual owner either by way of an express trust or some other clearly defined means. In other words, if a decedent asserted beneficial ownership of the property before his death, a claim to the property would be barred unless filed according to section 733.702. The reason being that the dispute as to ownership, creating the cause of action, arose before the decedent's death because the decedent, prior to his death, adversely claimed the property as his own. If, however, the decedent was merely in possession of the property but made no such assertion of ownership prior to his or her death, the assertion of ownership being made by the personal representative or heirs for the first time after the decedent's death would not require the filing of a claim.

In addition to an express trust, the Second District Court of Appeal provided the following additional "candidates" for when the "trust exception" might apply: "a trust imposed by statute . . ., a bailment, and a lease of personal property."

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