The sudden and dramatic disappearance of a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, millionaire has drawn attention to the future of his estate, according to local legal experts. The man, who disappeared on June 19 from his fishing boat, is accused of committing suicide or faking his own death, which may jeopardize the estate administration proceedings associated with his holdings. It appears that the family may be in for a lengthy probate battle.

The man, 35, reportedly had assets totaling about $100 million, and he owned a $5 million mansion in the area of the Rio Vista Isles. It is still unclear whether foul play was involved in the man’s disappearance.

The man’s wife and mother have both filed competing claims to his assets, according to reports from the Broward County courtroom where the declarations were made. His mother had argued that she should be the conservator of the estate before the U.S. Coast Guard even terminated its search for the man. She then relented, instead suggesting that an organization known as Northern Trust take over that role.

A tentative agreement was reached between 10 lawyers during a recent hearing, which would put Northern Trust in charge of the majority of the estate’s holdings. Another independent attorney would handle specific cases related to lawsuits that name the deceased as a defendant.

To complicate the issue even more, the man reportedly had significant holdings in real estate and sports teams overseas. Those investments reach about $40 million in estimated value. Florida courts do not have jurisdiction over those assets, and their future is still in jeopardy.

Luis E. Barreto