Macier v. Estate of Giamportone, — So.2d —-, 2008 WL 80199 (Fla. 3d DCA Jan 09, 2008)

Sometimes new assets are discovered after probate proceedings are completed and it becomes necessary to "reopen" an estate.  Examples include stocks, bonds, real estate holdings or cash.  Finding a new will after an estate is closed is NOT a valid basis for reopening an estate.  The controlling statute is F.S. 733.903, which provides as follows:

733.903. Subsequent administration

The final settlement of an estate and the discharge of the personal representative shall not prevent further administration. The order of discharge may not be revoked based upon the discovery of a will or later will.

In the linked-to case the probate court’s order reopening an estate was upheld on appeal.  The three-paragraph opinion is cryptic, to say the least; but here it is:

Richard Macier and Foreclosure Management Services, Inc. appeal a non-final order of the circuit court, probate division, re-opening the Estate of Bessie Giamportone, Appellee, and denying the appellants’ motion to quash service and to dismiss the motion to re-open the Estate. Inasmuch as the probate judge had jurisdiction and the power to re-open the Estate under section 733.903, Florida Statutes (2007), as well as the authority to protect an alleged property interest of the Estate, we affirm.

Macier and Foreclosure Management Services were given the courtesy of notice, based on the personal representative’s knowledge of the name and address of their counsel in other litigation among the parties in the civil division of the circuit court. This afforded them the opportunity to be heard, and it also provided them actual notice of the actions taken in the probate court so that they may move to dissolve the injunction entered there.

At this interlocutory point, and with the matter apparently referred for criminal investigation, the probate judge assuredly did not abuse his discretion or disregard any controlling principle of law.