In re Estate of Maldonado

In re Estate of Maldonado, --- So.3d --- (Fla. 5th DCA 2015)

In this case, the former spouse of a decedent appealed an order directing the personal representative to distribute the estate's assets and close the estate.  The decedent and his ex-wife divorced in 1993 in Puerto Rico, but the Puerto Rico order dissolving the marriage did not distribute the spouses' marital assets.  When the decedent died in 2005, his son sought to probate his will in Florida.  At the same time, the ex-wife filed suit in Puerto Rico seeking an award of marital assets.  She ultimately received a judgment for one-half of the marital assets.  

In 2006, the ex-wife filed a motion to intervene in the probate proceedings and an affidavit explaining the Puerto Rico judgment and her claim against the estate.  In 2007, she again filed a renewed motion to intervene and statement of claim.  The decedent's son objected to the claim as untimely, and in 2010 the court entered an order striking the 2007 claim.  The personal representative then sought to close the estate and the ex-wife's counsel made no objection to the personal representative's request that the estate be distributed.  The court directed the personal representative to distribute the assets and close the estate.

The ex-wife then sought to appeal the closing of the estate, claiming that her 2006 claim was still pending.  The Court held that this argument was not preserved on appeal because she did not object to the personal representative's request  to distribute the assets and close the estate.  She also argued that the court reversibly erred in striking her 2007 statement of claim.  The Court rejected this argument, because she did not appeal the 2010 order striking her claim in a timely matter.

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