Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Larry King's widow Shawn King files to be TV icon's estate administrator: report

LarrykingShawn King, estranged widow of Larry King, is not only contesting Larry King's will, but has also filed to be the estate administrator. Larry King's will stated that King wished for his $2 million estate to be divided between his five children. The handwritten will, left Shawn out of it and was not updated after the deaths of King's daughter Chaia and son Andy. However, the will was executed shortly after King had filed for a divorce from Shawn. 

In contesting the will, Shawn claimed that "reconciliation remained possible." Shawn also claimed that she had "the most knowledge of Larry's business, assets, and wishes." 

Shawn originally contested the appointment of King's son Larry King Jr. as administrator, but now she requests to take over the position and has submitted a copy of King's previous will that was executed in 2015 that names Shawn as executor of the estate. Other documents filed claim that Larry King's estate is only worth $350,000 as opposed to $2 million. 

Reps for King Jr. stated, "We do not intend to litigate this matter publically in the press. That said, we are aware of the unsupported allegations and innuendo in the Objections filed to the Petition for Probate. "Needless to say yet said nonetheless, we remain committed to our request to the Los Angeles Superior Court to admit to probate the valid October 17, 2019 will, entirely drafted and written in Larry King’s hand, which is the true and final statement of Larry’s intent to fully benefit his children equally."

See Nate Day, Larry King's widow Shawn King files to be TV icon's estate administrator: report, Fox News, February 20, 2021.

February 25, 2021 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Two Louisiana Supreme Court Cases Examine When Attestation Clauses In A Notarial Will Substantially Comply With The Law, and When They Don’t

Estate planning"In the January 2021 cases of Succession of James Conway Liner III and Succession of Peggy Blackwell Bruce, the Louisiana Supreme Court examined the attestation clauses in two notarial testaments (wills) and determined that one substantially complied with the requirements for executing a valid will, and one did not." 

Requirements for a notarial testament under Louisiana law include (1) must be in writing, (2) must be dated, and (3) executed by the testator in the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses. 

The Louisiana Supreme Court took a look at attestation clauses in the cases Liner and Bruce

In Liner, the testator executed two notarial testaments, which apparently revoked any prior testaments. The 2013 testament divided testator's property equally between his three children. The 2015 testament was executed under La. C.C. art 1579, which covers testators that are unable to read whether or not they are able to sign their name. This testament divided the property between only two of the children and excluded the third. 

The 2015 testament was invalidated by the district court after they found that the provisions of the attestation clause were different than those under La. C.C. art. 1579. 

The appellate court reversed the decision, finding La. C.C. art. 1579(2) governs when a testator is unable to read, despite whether or not the are able to sign their name. 

The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal and invalidated the 2015 testament. 

In Bruce, the Louisiana Supreme Court held that La C.C. art. 1577(2) applies when the testator is able to read and sign their name. 

The main takeaway from this cases is to comply with the requirements laid out in the code so that you can avoid litigation. 

See Two Louisiana Supreme Court Cases Examine When Attestation Clauses In A Notarial Will Substantially Comply With The Law, and When They Don’t, Probate Stars, February 16, 2021. 

February 23, 2021 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 22, 2021

At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan—and Her Own Grandsons

BeverlyBeverly Schottenstein decided to waged war against JP Morgan, the biggest bank in the US; She was 93. 

Schottenstain said that her two grandsons that managed her money at JP Morgan "forged documents, ran up commissions with inappropriate trading and made her miss tens of millions of dollars in gains."

Schottenstein decided to stay an independent review of her accounts and what she found was devastating, "[h]er two financial advisers at JPMorgan Chase & Co., who oversaw more than $80 million for her, had run up big commissions putting her money in risky investments they weren’t telling her about. It was the latest red flag about the bankers. There had been missing account statements. Document shredding. Unexplained credit-card charges."

Against friends and family's advice, Schottenstein decided she was going to take action. After an arbitration hearing with her grandsons and JP Morgan, Schottenstein was awarded $19 million to be paid by her grandsons and JP Morgan. 

See Tom Schoenberg, At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan—and Her Own Grandsons, Bloomberg Law, February 17, 2021. 

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

February 22, 2021 in Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Soundgarden Again, Claims Group Declined $21 Million Buyout

ChrisCornellChris Cornell, singer of Soundgarden passed away suddenly in 2017. Since his passing, his widow Vicky Cornell has sued the surviving bandmembers, claiming that the $300,000 buyout offer is "ludicrously low." 

Vicky has stated that she wants Soundgarden's holdings to be professional valued in order to determine what the fair amount would be. "Vicky Cornell claims that the bandmembers declined her offer of $21 million for their interest in the band partnership, and also declined a separate offer of $16 million for the rights to the group’s recorded-music rights." 

Vicky apparently attempted to settle the matter in December by offering Matt Cameron and Ben Shepard $4 million a piece for their interest in the Soundgarden partnership and then raised the offer to $7 million after her other offer was declined. 

Vicky's complaint body states, “The band members have knowingly offered only an infinitesimal fraction of the true worth of Chris’ interest in Soundgarden and certain related entities by making a ludicrously low offer. And, they know it. … This case relates to, and seeks a judicial valuation of, Chris’ interest in Soundgarden (the band owned by the partnership of the same name) and certain related entities, including SG Recordings, SMF, SG Productions, and LLM (collectively, the Soundgarden Related Entities’).”

Of course, the surviving bandmembers rebuttal by claiming that the buyout offer was fair and was accurate and calculated by "respected music industry valuation expert Gary Cohen." 

See Jem Aswad, Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Soundgarden Again, Claims Group Declined $21 Million Buyout, February 17, 2021. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 22, 2021 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 21, 2021

She won $188M Powerball. Now her ex-fiance is suing her from prison, NC lawsuit says

LotteryholmesMarie Holmes was working five jobs when she won the $188 million Powerball jackpot in 2015, which was the largest jackpot winnings in North Carolina history. 

After taxes, the winnings amounted to $87.9 million. Holmes stated that she planned to give a portion of her winnings to charities and religious organizations. Holmes also said she planned on using some of the money to go back to college and buy her mother a house. 

Holmes' ex-fiance, Lamarr Andre McDow, claims that Holmes spent money on generous and lavish gifts for him. McDow alleges that Holmes has given away or sold these gifts after they split up and now he is suing to get them back. 

McDow claims that Holmes breached her fiduciary duty "when she reportedly gave away his 77-acre dirt bike track, his car repair shop and tens of thousands of dollars worth of clothing and jewelry while he was in prison." 

Holmes' defense attorney stated in a motion to dismiss, “This case is the embodiment of the phrase ‘[w]hat’s yours is mine and what’s mine is my own.’ The problem here, however, is that McDow has nothing of his own.”

McDow was convicted of drug trafficking in April 2016 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is projected to be released in June 2023. 

McDow made Holmes his power of attorney before he went to prison. 

Apparently, McDow heard that Holmes began dating someone else after their split, and began giving away McDow's things. According to McDow's attorney, “Ms. Holmes’ unconditional obligation to act in the best interests of Mr. McDow didn’t stop because Ms. Holmes and Mr. McDow’s relationship ended.” 

As of now, McDow has not responded to the motion to dismiss. 

See She won $188M Powerball. Now her ex-fiance is suing her from prison, NC lawsuit says, Yahoo News, last visited February 21, 2021.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 21, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Larry King's estranged wife to contest his secret will

LarrykingShawn King, Larry King's estranged wife, will be contesting the late broadcaster's secret will. Shawn King was Larry King's seventh wife and was legally married to him at the time of his death in January. Larry King had filed for divorce in August of 2019, but according to Shawn, she was surprised that he had secretly updated his will. 

Shawn stated, We had a very watertight family estate plan,” and also said, “It still exists."

Recently, news broke that Larry King wrote a handwritten amendment to his will on October 17, 2019 leaving his estate to his five children. According to Shawn, she and Larry had sort of rekindled things and became close again after he filed for divorce. 

Shawn also believes that someone convinced—or heavily influenced—Larry to update his will. Shawn said she is fighting for a mere sliver of the estate, but the main reason she is fighting is because, “[i]t’s the principle.”

See Suzy Byrne, Larry King's estranged wife to contest his secret will, Yahoo Entertainment, February 15, 2021. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 20, 2021 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Missouri funeral home van carrying body stolen from store parking lot

A van thief(s) had an unpleasant surprise when they stole a funeral home van that had a body inside. The van was stolen from a funeral home in Missouri no Thursday morning. The driver of the van went into a convenience store and left it running. 

Unbeknownst to the thief, the body of a woman was inside of the van. "Police say 'William C. Harris Funeral' was displayed on the side of the van and it had a green wreaths with a 'H' inside of them on the back." 

See Elizabeth Elizalde, Missouri funeral home van carrying body stolen from store parking lot, February 12, 2021. 

 

February 18, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Tennessee man leaves $5 million to dog in his will: 'She’s a good girl'

LuLuTennessee businessman Bill Dorris died last year at the age 84 and left $5 million to his 8-year-old collie, LuLu. Bill's friend, Martha Burton, had already been well acquainted with LuLu as she would watch after her when Bill travel; an arrangement that had occurred for several years before Bill's passing. 

"I don’t really know what to think about it, to tell you the truth," Burton told WTVF. "He just really loved the dog."

According to the will, $5 million is to be placed in a trust for LuLu's care. The will also specifies that LuLu stay with Burton, for which Burton will be reimbursed for normal monthly expenses. 

Yes, LuLu the dog is a millionaire. The most interesting thing is that she is not the only animal that has come into a large sum of money, as it is far more common than you think for pet owners to leave a portion (and sometimes the entirety) of their estate to their animals.

See James Leggate, Tennessee man leaves $5 million to dog in his will: 'She’s a good girl', Fox News, February 12, 2021. 

 

 

February 17, 2021 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 15, 2021

Larry King left a 'hand-written will' in 2019 seeking equal split of his $50M fortune to his five children... and leaves out ex-wife Shawn

LarrykingLegendary journalist Larry King died of sepsis on January 23rd at the age of 87. King reportedly left behind a hand-written will "advising for an even split of his fortune to his five children in the event of his death." Larry King was reportedly worth around $50 million at the time of his death. 

The will was reportedly written on October 17, 2019, coming just two months after he filed for divorce. His seventh wife (whom he intended on divorcing), Shawn Southwick, was left out of the note entirely. 

The document stated, "This is my Last Will & Testament. It should replace all previous writings." The will stated that King wanted "100 percent of his funds to be divided equally among my children Andy, Chaia, Larry Jr., Chance, and Cannon." King's son Andy passed away of a heart attack in July 2020 and his daughter Chaia, died in August after being diagnosed with lung cancer. 

"Shawn revealed that Larry was 'ready to go' as he fought off an infection in the hospital after beating the coronavirus." Shawn also stated that King's last words to her were, "I love you, take care of the boys." 

'You know, he never wanted to go but his sweet little body was just, it had just been hit so many times with so many things and once we heard the word Covid, all of our hearts just sank. But he beat it, you know, he beat it, but it did take its toll and then the unrelated infection finally is what took him, but boy, he was not gonna go down easily.'

Luckily, King was able to share a moment with Shawn and his sons on a video call shortly before he passed. 

See Tracy Wright, Larry King left a 'hand-written will' in 2019 seeking equal split of his $50M fortune to his five children... and leaves out ex-wife Shawn, Daily Mail (U.K.), February 11, 2021. 

Special thanks to Deborah Matthews (Virginia Estate Planning Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 15, 2021 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Television, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article: Disinheritance, Discrimination and the Case for Including Adult Independent Children in Dependants’ Relief Schemes: Lawen Estate v Nova Scotia

Jane Thompson recently published an article entitled, Disinheritance, Discrimination and the Case for Including Adult Independent Children in Dependants’ Relief Schemes: Lawen Estate v Nova Scotia, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law ejournal (2021). Provided below is the abstract to the Article. Estate planning

In 2019 a Superior Court in Nova Scotia struck out adult independent children as dependants under Nova Scotia's Testator's Family Maintenance Act. The decision was based on a finding that testamentary autonomy was a constitutional right protected by s.7 of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This paper demonstrates why the constitutional decision in Lawen Estate v. Nova Scotia was flawed. It also explains why including of adult independent children in dependants' relief schemes is not only benign in most instances, but may play a role in preventing the perpetuation of discrimination in the private law.

February 15, 2021 in Articles, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)