Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, April 17, 2009

Will contest in Georgia pits family against mistress


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.]

Special thanks to Neil E. Hendershot (Tucker Arensberg, P.C., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), who also authors the PA Elder, Estate & Fiduciary Law Blog, for bringing this article to my attention.


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