Celebrities may remain in the news for matters unrelated to their talents and accomplishments long after they die. In an estate case that is instructive for Michigan families, a judge in Tennessee recently ruled that the children of country music singer Glenn Campbell may contest two wills that disinherited them.
For several years before his death on Aug. 7, 2017, Campbell suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He executed two wills dated Sept. 1, 2006, and Jan. 7, 2001, that left three of his children without inheritances. The singer’s widow filed his 2006 will in probate court and was named the executor of his estate. Along with Campbell’s five other children, she was also named as a beneficiary.
The three children who were not named in the will had petitioned the court to certify the existence of a will contest against these wills. They intend to contest Campbell’s capacity to agree to the wills and claimed that there was undue influence. The judge in Nashville ruled that Campbell’s three children have standing to contest the 2006 and 2001 wills in his three-page ruling issued in late July.
Campbell’s fourth child also raised doubts about Campbell’s former publicist and manager who was acting as the temporary administrator of his estate. She asked the judge in this case to order the administrator to completely account for the payments made from Campbell’s estate and a bank account where his royalties were deposited. She claimed that these royalties went into an account controlled by two of Campbell’s children who were beneficiaries instead of an estate account. The temporary administrator had power of attorney over the account.
Estate planning and drafting of wills must be thorough to help avoid a will contest or probate litigation. An attorney can help with these tasks and help assure that estate documents are valid.