A contentious and long-debated estate litigation case related to businessman Wilson Lucom’s will has finally been settled, according to federal documents. The man had left most of his $50 million fortune to a charitable foundation designed to assist poor Panamanian children. The executor of the estate had filed claims against the man’s widow in relation to the estate distribution decision.

Even though he had ostensibly wanted his money to go to the children in Panama, the Panama Supreme Court ruled that his will was void. The entire estate was awarded to the man’s third wife, a woman who was related to the Panamanian president. The wealthy man might have left his money to the charity to avoid giving his wealth to his widow’s children, whom he did not particularly like.

The executor of the will decided to sue the man’s widow in 2007, also including the woman’s adult children, the group’s legal team, several Panamanian judges and assorted prosecutors. He contended that the woman and her attorneys had muscled him out of the executor’s duties by violating anti-racketeering, fraud, corruption, theft and extortion laws. The woman, along with her co-defendants, had said that the statute of limitations had expired on the claims.

A U.S. District Court judge in Miami ruled that the statute of limitations had indeed expired. The executor had argued that the financial misdeeds had begun in 2010, while the woman said that the activities of which she was accused started much earlier, in 2006. The executor said that the family had accused him of having a criminal background, which caused him to be thrown out of probate hearings in Panama shortly after Lucom’s death.

Florida officials had criticized the executor’s management of the wealthy man’s estate, saying that he engaged in shoddy accounting and perhaps even embezzled. The man plans to appeal the court’s decision. But now it appears the woman’s five children can now expect to inherit the money from their mother.

Luis E. Barreto