Friday, April 17, 2009
An interesting will contest is brewing in Georgia. Here are some of the facts as reported in Bill Rankin, New fight over will of millionaire, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 14, 2009:
- Harvey Strother was a successful car dealer in Georgia.
- Harvey's mistress for eight years was Anne Melican.
- Harvey was reported to have alcohol challenges, For example, it is claimed he would drink 1.5 gallons of wine per day.
- Harvey died of congestive heart failure in 2004 at age 78.
- Harvey's estate was worth $37 million.
- He left a will and three codicils. The third codicil was denied probate because the court found he was drunk when he signed it. The first two codicils were admitted to probate.
- The admitted codicils give Anne $4.5 million, lifetime health coverage, a condo in Cozumel, and a monthly allowance of $7,900.
- The family members claim that (1) Anne exerted undue influence over Harvey and (2) the codicils are invalid because the witnesses did not see Harvey sign them. [Note that in many states, there is no requirement that the witnesses see the testator sign.]