Being left out of the will of a parent, grandparent or other loved one can sting emotionally, but you might not be completely without legal options. It’s important to discuss the circumstances with an experienced Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer who can help walk you through the possibilities.
Although sometimes there is little expectation of an inheritance due to long-term erosion of the relationship, for many adult children and grandchildren, the news can come as something of a shock. The decision of whether to take action is a difficult one and will probably depend at least partially on what the odds are you’ll be successful in obtaining an equal share or at least a fairly-negotiated settlement with the named heirs.
There are a number of ways you may be able to challenge if you are left out of a will, all of which are time-sensitive so getting a probate lawyer involved as soon as possible is an imperative.
These sort of cases aren’t especially unique, and occasionally one makes headlines due to one or two high-profile litigants. We say that recently with the estate of the late TV host and country singer Glen Campbell in Nashville, Tennessee. Campbell is best known for hits, “Rinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights.” Born the seventh of 12 children to a sharecropper in Arkansas, he was married four times and had eight children when he died at 81 of Alzheimer’s disease in August 2017. His estate was initially estimated to be valued at $50 million, but the court-appointed administrator recently released a far lower estimate to The Tennessean: little more than $400,000. That reportedly excludes future income rights from royalties, which are still pending an appraisal.
Previously, the local newspaper reported Campbell’s 13-page will drafted in 2006 (five years before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease) specifically excludes three of his eight children. His five other children were named as beneficiaries. The battle over the estate actually began when Campbell was placed in a conservatorship. After his death, his wife was named as executor of his estate, and the three excluded children (from his second wife) have since served notice that they will be contesting the will. (The will also prohibits any distribution to the singer’s two surviving siblings, though they have not filed any paperwork to contest.)
Court records show a subpoena was issued to the singer’s former publicist, seeking testimony as to Campbell’s competence when he signed the will. This is a challenge sometimes referred to as “capacity.” The publicist has been asked to submit all communications with or about Campbell and/ or his agent dating back to 2002.
If you are excluded from a will in Florida, a probate lawyer may be able to help you challenge that exclusion if there is clear and convincing evidence that:
- The will was invalid;
- The claimant was accidentally disinherited.
Most wills are generally presumed to be valid so long as they are verified, so claimants contesting it will need to overcome the presumption that the omission was not accidental and wasn’t drafted under duress, fraud or lack of mental capacity.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Court record: Glen Campbell specifically excludes 3 of 8 children from will, Nov. 30, 2017, By Walter F. Roche Jr., The Tennessean
More Blog Entries:
Family Conflicts Are Top Threat to Your Inheritance, Estate Planning Key,May 14, 2018, Fort Lauderdale Probate Lawyer