Jorge L. Cantero, Appellant,
In Re: Estate of: Jane Althea Caswell, Appellee.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 17-1997, Yvonne Colodny, Judge.
Offices of Robin Bresky, Jeremy Dicker and Robin Bresky (Boca
Raton), for appellant.
Office of Hauser and Hauser, PLLC, Marc Hauser and David L.
Hauser; Fischer & Feldman, and Martin Feldman
(Hollywood), for appellee.
LINDSEY, HENDON and GORDO, JJ.
Jorge Cantero, appeals the trial court's order granting
the motion to strike his claim against the Estate of Jane
Althea Caswell as untimely. Mr. Cantero argues the trial
court abused its discretion in finding he was not a
reasonably ascertainable creditor, despite the personal
representative and personal representative's attorney
having actual knowledge of his claims. Based upon the record
below, we find no abuse of discretion in the trial
court's order and affirm.
relevant facts set forth in the trial court's order are
Jane Althea Caswell ("Decedent") died on April 16,
2017, owning property located at 212 Golden Beach Drive,
Golden Beach, Florida. Decedent was not married at the time
of her death, and did not have children. In her will,
Decedent appointed one of her four brothers, Errol W.
Caswell, as Personal Representative ("PR").
Pursuant to Florida Statute § 733.2121, on June 7, 2017,
PR properly published the Notice of Creditors. The creditors
period expired on September 7, 2017. No creditor claims were
filed in the Estate. PR filed a Verified Statement as to
creditors on September 25, 2017, which averred no creditors.
By order dated, August 28, 2017, the Court ordered the Golden
Beach property to be sold.
January 5, 2018, nearly four months after the expiration of
the creditor claim period, Mr. Cantero filed a Statement of
Claim/Correspondence in the trial court asserting he was
entitled to all of the proceeds from the sale of
Decedent's Golden Beach property. Mr. Cantero objected to
the disbursement of proceeds from the sale of the Estate and
later filed a Notice of Filing Civil Action against the
Cantero asserted that he was a reasonably ascertainable
creditor entitled to personal service of Notice to Creditors
and was not time-barred from filing a claim against the
Estate, the trial court held an evidentiary hearing
specifically on this issue.
this hearing, the personal representative testified that he
diligently searched the property and did not uncover any
paperwork regarding Mr. Cantero's alleged interest in the
property. The personal representative testified that he had
only two conversations with Mr. Cantero, in which Mr. Cantero
never brought up having any interest in the Golden Beach
property. The first time they spoke, Mr. Cantero called to
give condolences. After a few minutes, Mr. Cantero mentioned
that he may have left some car parts in the garage. The
personal representative told him the house was up for sale
and he was welcome to go by the and check the garage. In the
second call, Mr. Cantero advised he went to the house to go
in the garage, but it was locked. The personal representative
told him to contact his attorney, David Hauser, who had been
handling the property. Mr. Hauser testified that Mr. Cantero
called him once. The call lasted less than a minute. Mr.
Cantero only mentioned having left some car parts in the
garage over 20 years ago. Mr. Hauser advised him the family
had cleaned out the garage in order to sell the home and did
not find any car parts. Mr. Cantero never brought up any kind
of ownership interest in the Golden Beach property when he
spoke to Mr. Hauser, nor did he indicate he wished to file a
claim regarding the car parts.
Cantero testified that he was in a romantic relationship with
Decedent when they decided to purchase the Golden Beach
property in 1992. Mr. Cantero resided with Decedent in the
Golden Beach property for nearly five years until they broke
up. Mr. Cantero claimed he paid all the monies to purchase
the property and continued to pay the mortgage premiums while
he resided there. Mr. Cantero claimed he paid the down
payment for the home and that he had a verbal agreement with
Decedent that upon her death, the property would be
transferred to him. However, Mr. Cantero ...