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Ongoing will contest over estate of heiress

After the death of a Miami person with a sizable estate, even if there was a will in place, family members and others may disagree with the distribution of assets outlined in the document. One reason cited, when wills are contested, is the competency level of the deceased at the time the will was created. If family members believe the person was incapacitated by age, sickness or mental illness, the validly of the will may be questioned and taken to court.

Nineteen distant relatives of a deceased copper heiress are contesting her will after none of her assets were earmarked for family members. Currently, charities and individuals she knew in her life, such as her nurse and staff, are listed in the will. Her assets included paintings, real estate and cash holdings. The family’s challenge to the will is based off a claim that she was mentally ill when it was created.

There are a number of factors at play in the case. For one, the two people that helped her create the will, her accountant and attorney, are named as beneficiaries. Additionally, the will clearly indicates that she wanted none of her assets to go to her family members. The case is going to trial, which will be held before a jury, but settlement negotiations are occurring. The total worth of the woman’s estate is reportedly $300 million dollars.

If a person dies and leaves a will that awards portions of an estate to organizations and individuals other than their family, members of the family may have grounds to challenge the document. Someone in this situation may want to contact an experienced attorney.

Source: NBC News, “Kin of heiress Huguette Clark in talks to receive share of $300 million estate,” Bill Dedman, August 15, 2013

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