Geezil v. Savage
Geezil v. Savage, 2013 WL 6246205 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013)
This case involved a dispute between the decedent's daughter from his first marriage and his second wife. The decedent apparently drafted his own valid will which divided his property between the daughter and the wife. Unfortunately, the will had several deficiencies, including devises of non-probate assets and a lack of a residuary clause, which resulted in years of litigation, substantially depleting the estate.
On appeal, the Court was asked to consider the order in which the estate assets would deplete, given that the litigation created larger than expected class 1 expenses. The wife made a claim for funeral and burial expenses, which was ultimately settled by the co-personal representatives pursuant to F.S. 733.708. The probate court held that the funeral expenses could be paid to the wife from an investment account that was a general devise to the daughter in the will. The Appellate Court found that although this account was the only liquid asset of the estate, and may ultimately end up being the source of the payment, the funeral bill is partially a class 2 claim, and partially a class 8 claim pursuant to F.S. 733.707, and therefore, until the class 1 claims are determined, the funeral expenses could not be paid.