Florida Guardianships, Estates, and Artwork
Are you the beneficiary of a Florida estate facing complicated legal issues? Have you been named the beneficiary in a Florida will but have still not received an inheritance after many years of estate proceedings? Are you worried that the personal representative of a Florida estate is not properly administering the estate? What does the Florida guardianship court have to do with probate litigation?
Florida Inheritance Disputes and Recent Cases
A January 8, 2020 article in The Washington Post Magazine discusses an artist named Purvis Young and the probate battles that the beneficiaries of his estate have encountered.
Young did not have a spouse or any children. He named his friend Eddie Mae Lovest and 12 of her daughters and grandchildren as the main beneficiaries of his will. His estate did not consist of much cash but, according to the article, there were 1,884 pieces of art.
It makes sense that the beneficiaries thought the art would be sold and that they would inherit the sale money. However, like many Florida estate proceedings, it got a lot more complicated.
Artist Purvis Young’s Florida Estate
Young passed away back in 2010, yet estate proceedings still continue. West Palm Beach probate litigators know that inheritance battles can get pretty complicated. Here, there has been litigation not only regarding Young’s estate but also regarding the guardianship that Young was subject to prior to his death.
Young’s guardian, David Mangiero, became the personal representative of Young’s estate. As personal representative, he is tasked with paying creditors, including the attorneys and guardians who were owed money from Young’s guardianship.
Lovest v. Mangiero
A July 31, 2019 opinion, Lovest v. Mangiero, is one dispute that emerged regarding Young’s estate. This recent Third DCA opinion, Lovest v. Mangiero, is a good example of how guardianship and estate law can collide.
On two separate occasions, Mangiero, the personal representative, filed petitions to pay Young’s debt with Young’s artwork. A beneficiary of Young’s estate, Taketha Lovest, objected.
Mangiero sent notice of the second petition and hearing via certified mail to Lovest, but it was marked undeliverable. The guardianship court went ahead and authorized the petition. Lovest appealed. She argued that the orders violated her due process rights, the guardianship court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, and that Mangiero, as guardian, should have provided proper accountings each year.
However, the appellate court’s opinion explains that Lovest’s due process rights were not violated because she did not file a request for notice form pursuant to Florida Probate Rule 5.060. Therefore, the guardianship court was not able to determine if she was an interested person.
Secondly, Florida Statute 744.527(2) states that, when a guardian applies for discharge, the guardian may retain from the funds in his or her possession a sufficient amount to pay final costs of administration. Therefore, the Florida guardianship court retained jurisdiction while Mangiero took care of the outstanding guardian and attorneys fees.
Lastly, although the guardianship court should have ordered Mangiero to provide yearly accountings, they never did. Therefore, that issue was moot.
If you are the beneficiary of a Florida estate, and the personal representative wants to sell the decedent’s valuables to pay for decedent’s debt, you may want to read Lovest v. Mangiero in its entirety. If you want to interview an experienced Florida probate or guardianship lawyer, free of charge, call (561)268-0233 ext. 101.