Articles Tagged with Will Contest

10.30.19Contesting a will is not for the faint of heart, but this is the process that lets a person legally challenge a will.

When there’s a will, there’s a way to challenge it, known as a “will contest.” If someone dies and they had a will, their estate goes through the probate process. The probate court is the jurisdiction for challenging a will.

Understanding how this works is important, if you’ve been named as a beneficiary of an estate or you’re concerned that your own will may one day be contested.

10.28.19While it’s possible for people to manage some parts of their loved one’s estate, very often the tasks feel overwhelming. When getting assets out of probate becomes too much of a challenge, it’s time for help.

There are instances when an executor knows they need to hire an attorney who focuses their practice on settling an estate immediately. That’s usually when there’s a lot of money at stake, or if the family has a history of fighting. Other times, the job of settling an estate starts out okay, then hits a roadblock, or becomes too emotionally draining.

KAKE.com’s recent article, “Do I Need to Hire a Probate Lawyer?: The Top Signs You Should Lawyer Up” says that trying to do this on your own can often be time-consuming and expensive. That’s why it’s smart to have a probate lawyer working with you.

7.25.19The fight over Conrad Prebys’ $1 billion estate continues, three years after the San Diego developer and philanthropist died.

When the directors of the Conrad Prebys Foundation decided to give his son Eric $15 million, despite the fact that his father had left him out of the will, Preby’s longtime partner tried to sue them.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in the article “Court fight continues over control of $1 billion Prebys estate,” that in January, a San Diego Superior Court judge dismissed Debra Turner’s suit, holding that she had no legal standing to bring it. She then filed an amended complaint. However, the judge recently dismissed her lawsuit.

This bizarre story of an estate battle concerns a man who wanted to be driven to local pubs, a taxi driver and the passenger’s significant other.

A legal bill for an unusual estate battle must be now paid by a cabbie who had inherited a regular fare’s entire estate. The will was challenged by the man’s partner, who had been his heir, before the will was changed (over a pint in a pub) to favor the cabbie.

The New York Post’s recent article, “Cab driver slapped with massive legal fees after inheriting passenger’s estate,” explains that the bizarre story began years ago when British taxi driver Dean Hughes agreed to transport 348-pound Gary Mendez to various pubs. Many other cabbies refused to take him, because of his size.

7.16.19There were a lot of headlines after Kenny Goss and Michael’s former lover Fadi Fawaz were cut out of the late singer’s will.  Fawaz is now reported to be planning to contest the will.

Most of the late George Michael’s £98 million estate will be shared by his sisters Yioda and Melanie. There were also provisions made in the will for his father Kyriacos, as well as for his close friends and former members of his staff.

“George was devoted to his dad and sisters, they were always going to be looked after,” a source told The Sun.

9.4.18The wishes of former Wham! singer George Michael are bring carried out, just a few months shy of the two-year anniversary of his death.

Among the information being shared by Andros Georgiou, a cousin of George Michael, is that all of the organizations and individuals who were mentioned in the late singer’s will have been contacted. However, that wasn’t the only news from Andros.

MSN reports, in the article “George Michael's lover is challenging his will after being left nothing, says cousin,” that Andros told the British newspaper, The Sun, that George Michael didn’t leave anything to Fadi Fawaz, who was George’s on-again, off-again partner since 2012. Fawaz also was the one who found Michael dead in bed in his home in the English village of Goring in Oxfordshire on Christmas Day 2016.

7.2.18Without a will, decisions about your life, property and children will be made by someone who does not know you or your family. With a will, you have the ability to express your wishes. You need a will!

Having a will is not just for wealthy folks, who need to pass large amounts of money across generations. It is a legal document that protects you while you are living, protects minor children if you die and also distributes property after you pass. Less than half of all adults in America have an estate plan, according to a 2017 survey by Caring.com, and what’s worse, only 36% with children under the age of 18 have a will.

Inside Indiana Business’ recent article, “With a Will, It's Done Your Way,” explained that if you die without a will (i.e., intestate), the law of the state where you reside determines how your property will be distributed. For example, in Indiana, here’s what happens:

4.9.18Before he died, the owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans gave millions of dollars of property to his daughter and her children, but they were not included in his last will and testament.

The last will of multi-millionaire Tom Benson, who owned several professional sports teams and other businesses, did not include his daughter and her children, according to an article from KPVI, “Though excluded from his will, Tom Benson's daughter and grandchildren received much from family patriarch.”

Following Benson's death, court records indicate that his third wife Gayle became the sole beneficiary of an estate controlling New Orleans' NFL and NBA franchises, as well as the Dixie Brewing Co. There were other valuable businesses or properties in the estate: three car dealerships, the site of Benson Tower and Champions Square, a $3.6 million Uptown mansion, a racing stable and a parking lot used by fans attending Saints or Pelicans games.

5.24.17At last, a happy ending for the estate of the late Veronica Shoemaker, a community activist who made service the heart of her life and business.

With the conclusion of the estate battle, Mattie Young, the daughter of the late Veronica Shoemaker, will now be able to keep her mother’s flower shop open and maintain her mother’s legacy of community service. Shoemaker devoted many years of her life to serving the Fort Myer’s community and Young was faced with a contested will struggle that threatened her ability to keep the shop open.

The Fort Meyers news-press.com reported on this saga in Shoemaker estate issue settled; florist shop stays open. Apparently, family members reached an agreement that assured Mattie would continue to run the Veronica S. Shoemaker Florist Shop in the Dunbar community its founder served for decades.

9.8.16A cautionary tale ends with a will being declared invalid, firings at the local police station and a lesson in elder abuse.

A wealthy 92 year old woman suffering from dementia left a $2 million estate to a local police sergeant but after three years of legal wrangling, her will was found to be invalid and the police officer and his supervisor were both fired from their positions. In New Hampshire Magazine’s September 2016 issue the article “Navigating Non-Relative Inheritance,” explains how vigilant professionals must be, especially in cases where children or other family members are being disinherited.

Just about all of the inheritances in a typical estate go to family members or to the deceased’s favorite charities. But when an unrelated individual is the beneficiary of a valuable asset or a large sum of money, it can raise questions and perhaps suspicions from those who felt they had a right to the inheritance. The issue may become how to balance the wishes of the testator—by distributing his or her assets as he or she sees fit—with the right of the bequeathed or the beneficiary of the will to accept it without creating a conflict of interest or violating the essential trust.

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