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The Jose Fernandez Estate: Questions, Uncertainty

January 31st, 2017

Probate Litigation,  Probate Administration,  

Jose Fernandez, a once promising young starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins, was killed when the boat he was aboard crashed into a jetty off the Miami Beach coast. Authorities and initial reports stated that Fernandez was accompanied by two other individuals (Jesus Macias and Eduardo Rivero) at the time of the crash.  At the time of his death, Fernandez was not married, but was survived by his mother (Maritza Gomez Fernandez) and his girlfriend (Maria Arias) who was carrying his unborn child. Fernandez was reportedly under the influence of cocaine and alcohol at the time of the crash.

Reports suggest that Ms. Gomez Fernandez has petitioned the Court for intestate administration of her son’s estate. This is an initial indication that Fernandez died without a will. Under Florida’s laws of intestate succession Fernandez’s child would be the sole beneficiary of Fernandez’s estate.

Several questions and even more uncertainties arise regarding Fernandez’s estate.

Estate Assets

Fernandez’s estimated career earnings were approximately $6,500,000. His estate may also be in line to receive accidental death and/or life insurance from Major League Baseball and its affiliate beneficiary programs, in addition to any policies he may have obtained individually.

It is unclear, of course, what the value of the estate is that will be subject to the probate court’s administration.

Creditor Claims

It is likely the families of Macias and Rivero will hire counsel and file suit against Fernandez’s estate. Certainly the underlying lawsuits will seek to determine who was at fault for the crash and the requisite apportionment of liability.

Arias does not have a right to share in Fernandez estate. If a contest is made concerning the unborn child’s lineage that is a fight Arias will certainly be a part of, if only for the benefit of her child.  Given the sizable estate, it is likely that Arias’ child will require the appointment of a guardian or guardian ad litem because it will exceed $50,000.

As noted above, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding Fernandez’s estate.  We intend to treat this as a live blog and provide continuous coverage of Fernandez’s estate as information becomes available and events unfold.

The attorneys of Clark Skatoff handle probate, trust, and guardianship litigation and administration throughout the State of Florida, including all state and federal courts. To discuss a potential case, please contact the firm, at (561) 842-4868 or 888-752-8633.