Many people have actually become aware of the principle behind a Will contest, yet most have actually never been included in one. A Last Will and Testament can not be challenged just since a prospective recipient is not happy with what she or he got under the terms of the Will.
A Will contest is meant to bring to light something that in fact invalidates the Will itself, such as that the testator did not have the psychological capacity required 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 daddy died when she was just 13, leaving most of his $100 million fortune to Doris and her mom. Although Doris married and divorced twice before her death in 1993, she had no biological kids. At the time of her death, the family fortune had actually grown to $1.3 billion. Soon after her death, a Last Will and Testament was provided for probate. It was executed just weeks prior to her death and named her butler, Barnard Lafferty, as the executor of her estate. While that was enough to raise concerns, extra regards to her estate plan also provided Lafferty practically total control over her estate– something that anybody with that type of cash normally does refrain from doing.
Numerous Will contests were submitted. Among them was one by Harry Demopoulos, Duke’s friend and former physician. Demopoulos was likewise named as the administrator in her pervious Will. Demopoulos was persuaded that Duke was not in her right mind when she executed the Will. Evidence provided to the court showed that Duke was heavily sedated throughout the weeks leading up to her death and was basically cut off from anyone beyond your house. Demopoulos was offered a big settlement to drop the Will contest however turned it down. After a 3 year long court fight, 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 administrator.
Sometimes, objecting to a Will is essential when a family member or loved one is convinced that the Will does not properly reflect what the testator would have wanted.