The majority of people have actually heard of the idea behind a Will contest, yet most have never ever been involved in one. A Last Will and Testimony can not be challenged just since a prospective beneficiary is not happy with what she or he received under the regards to the Will.
A Will contest is intended to expose something that really revokes the Will itself, such as that the testator did not have the psychological capacity needed to carry out the Will or that someone unduly affected 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 successor to a tobacco fortune. Born in 1912, her father passed away when she was only 13, leaving the majority of his $100 million fortune to Doris and her mom. Doris married and separated twice 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. Quickly after her death, a Last Will and Testament was presented for probate. It was executed simply weeks prior to her death and called her butler, Barnard Lafferty, as the executor of her estate. While that was enough to raise concerns, extra terms of her estate plan likewise gave Lafferty almost complete control over her estate– something that anyone with that kind of money normally does refrain from doing.
Numerous Will contests were submitted. Amongst them was one by Harry Demopoulos, Duke’s good friend and former physician. Demopoulos was also named as the administrator in her pervious Will. Demopoulos was convinced that Duke was not in her ideal mind when she performed the Will. Proof presented to the court revealed that Duke was heavily sedated during the weeks leading up to her death and was basically cut off from anyone outside of the house. Demopoulos was provided a big settlement to drop the Will contest however turned it down. After a 3 year long court battle, that included over 40 legal representatives at a cost of about $10 million to Duke’s estate, the probate judge ruled in Demopoulos’s favor and eliminated Lafferty as the executor.
Sometimes, contesting a Will is required when a relative or liked one is encouraged that the Will does not precisely reflect what the testator would have wanted.