Many people have actually heard of the idea behind a Will contest, yet most have never been associated with one. A Last Will and Testimony can not be challenged merely since a potential beneficiary is not pleased with what he or she received under the terms of the Will.
A Will contest is planned to bring to light something that actually invalidates the Will itself, such as that the testator did not have the psychological capability needed to perform the Will or that someone unduly influenced the testator at the time the Will was signed. Both of these were amongst the challenges to the Will of Doris Duke.
Doris Duke was the beneficiary to a tobacco fortune. Born in 1912, her dad passed away when she was just 13, leaving most of his $100 million fortune to Doris and her mom. Doris married and separated two times prior to her death in 1993, she had no biological kids. At the time of her death, the family fortune had grown to $1.3 billion. Shortly after her death, a Last Will and Testimony was provided for probate. It was performed just weeks prior to her death and named her butler, Barnard Lafferty, as the administrator of her estate. While that was enough to raise questions, additional terms of her estate plan likewise gave Lafferty almost complete control over her estate– something that anybody with that type of cash generally does refrain from doing.
Numerous Will contests were filed. Among them was one by Harry Demopoulos, Duke’s good friend and former physician. Demopoulos was also called as the administrator in her pervious Will. Demopoulos was persuaded that Duke was not in her right mind when she carried out the Will. Proof provided to the court revealed that Duke was greatly sedated throughout the weeks leading up to her death and was essentially cut off from anybody outside of your house. Demopoulos was provided a large settlement to drop the Will contest but turned it down. After a 3 year long court battle, that included over 40 attorneys at a cost of about $10 million to Duke’s estate, the probate judge ruled in Demopoulos’s favor and removed Lafferty as the administrator.
Sometimes, objecting to a Will is needed when a member of the family or loved one is persuaded that the Will does not properly reflect what the testator would have wanted.