Doris Duke's Estate Battle-- Why Contesting a Will is In Some Cases Needed
Many people have actually become aware of the idea behind a Will contest, yet most have never ever been involved in one. A Last Will and Testament can not be challenged merely since a possible recipient is not pleased with what he or she received under the terms of the Will.
A Will contest is planned to bring to light something that really invalidates the Will itself, such as that the testator did not have the mental capacity required to execute the Will or that somebody unduly influenced the testator at the time the Will was signed. Both of these were amongst the obstacles to the Will of Doris Duke.
Doris Duke was the successor to a tobacco fortune. Born in 1912, her daddy died when she was only 13, leaving the majority of his $100 million fortune to Doris and her mother. Doris wed and divorced 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. Shortly after her death, a Last Will and Testimony was provided for probate. It was executed simply weeks before her death and called her butler, Barnard Lafferty, as the executor of her estate. While that was enough to raise questions, extra regards to her estate plan also provided Lafferty nearly complete control over her estate– something that anybody with that type of money normally does not do.
Numerous Will contests were filed. Among them was one by Harry Demopoulos, Duke’s pal and previous doctor. Demopoulos was also called as the administrator in her pervious Will. Demopoulos was convinced that Duke was not in her ideal mind when she carried out the Will. Evidence provided to the court revealed that Duke was heavily sedated during the weeks leading up to her death and was essentially cut off from anybody outside of your house. Demopoulos was used a large settlement to drop the Will contest but turned it down. After a three year long court fight, which consisted of over 40 attorneys at a cost of about $10 million to Duke’s estate, the probate judge ruled in Demopoulos’s favor and removed Lafferty as the executor.
Sometimes, contesting a Will is necessary when a relative or liked one is encouraged that the Will does not properly reflect what the testator would have desired.