A lot of individuals have heard of the principle behind a Will contest, yet most have never ever been associated with one. A Last Will and Testament can not be challenged merely due to the fact that a prospective recipient is not pleased with what he or she got under the regards to the Will.
A Will contest is meant to bring to light something that in fact revokes the Will itself, such as that the testator did not have the mental capacity necessary to perform the Will or that somebody unduly affected the testator at the time the Will was signed. Both of these were among the obstacles to the Will of Doris Duke.
Doris Duke was the beneficiary to a tobacco fortune. Born in 1912, her father died when she was only 13, leaving the majority of his $100 million fortune to Doris and her mother. Although Doris wed and separated twice prior to her death in 1993, she had no biological children. At the time of her death, the family fortune had actually grown to $1.3 billion. Shortly after her death, a Last Will and Testament existed for probate. It was carried out simply weeks prior to her death and called her butler, Barnard Lafferty, as the administrator of her estate. While that was enough to raise concerns, extra terms of her estate plan likewise offered Lafferty nearly total control over her estate– something that anybody with that type of money generally does not do.
Numerous Will contests were submitted. Among them was one by Harry Demopoulos, Duke’s buddy and previous physician. Demopoulos was also named as the executor in her pervious Will. Demopoulos was encouraged that Duke was not in her right mind when she carried out the Will. Proof provided to the court showed that Duke was greatly sedated during the weeks leading up to her death and was basically cut off from anyone outside of your house. Demopoulos was offered a big settlement to drop the Will contest however turned it down. After a three year long court fight, which included over 40 lawyers at an expense of about $10 million to Duke’s estate, the probate judge ruled in Demopoulos’s favor and got rid of Lafferty as the executor.
Sometimes, contesting a Will is necessary when a family member or loved one is convinced that the Will does not properly reflect what the testator would have desired.