Lovest v. Mangiero
Lovest v. Mangiero, 279 So.3d 205 (Fla. 3d. DCA 2019)
This decision illustrates some of the difficulties that arise when guardianship and estate proceedings intersect. Here, after the ward died, the guardian and then personal representative sought to pay some of the ward's creditors using artwork done by the decedent, an artist. One of the beneficiaries of the ward's estate objected, arguing that the guardianship court's orders violated her due process rights, the guardianship court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and the guardian should have provided proper accountings.
The Court held that the beneficiary's due process rights were not violated because notice was sent to her of the petition to pay the debts with the artwork by certified mail (even though it was returned as undeliverable). It noted that FPR 5.060(a) allows an interested person who desires notice to file a written request for notice of further proceedings, which then allows the trial court the opportunity to determine whether that person is interested. Because the beneficiary failed to file this request, the court could not determine whether she was an "interested party" and thus she was not entitled to notice.
The Court also held that the guardianship court retained subject matter jurisdiction even after the ward had died because F.S. 744.527(2) allows the guardian to retain funds for the final costs of administration regardless of the death of the ward.
Lastly, the Court held that even though the guardian had not filed timely annual reports, F.S. 744.3685 puts the burden on the court to order the guardian to file the delinquent reports. Because the court had never ordered the guardian to provide the accountings, a beneficiary could not argue that the accountings were not timely.