While it is prudent for people with substantial assets to draft wills and appoint personal representatives of their estates to handle their affairs after they depart, doing so does not always mean that no conflicts will arise after they die. For example, a personal representative’s interests may be adverse to those of the estate, which may require the court to appoint an administrator ad litem. In a recent Florida opinion, a court discussed the purpose of appointing an administrator ad litem in a matter in which the decedent’s daughter and wife disputed how the estate should be handled. If you have questions regarding the administration of an estate, it is in your best interest to meet with a seasoned Florida estate planning attorney regarding your options.
History of the Case
It is reported that the decedent died in 2019, leaving behind a substantial estate that included ownership interests in a business and an art collection, both of which were valued at over $30 million. The plaintiff, who was the second wife of the decedent, was named personal representative of the estate. In 2020, the decedent’s daughter filed a petition for the appointment of an administrator ad litem, citing concerns that the plaintiff had a conflict of interest as the personal representative and challenging certain transfers that were made in the last months of the decedent’s life when he was suffering from dementia.
Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a motion asking the court to declare the proceedings adversarial in nature. The court rejected her reasoning and appointed an administrator, and the plaintiff appealed, arguing the appointment was too broad and that the court erred in finding the proceedings were not adversarial. Continue reading ›