Though the death of a family member can be shocking, sometimes the details of that individual's estate plan can also catch surviving family off guard. Though each person is entitled to create a will or other estate-related documents with terms that he or she believes best suit the situation, some parties may feel that those terms are unfair. As a result, probate litigation could potentially result.
Texas residents may be interested in details that recently emerged regarding the will of late comedian Jerry Lewis. Lewis was 91 years old when he died last month, and during his lifetime, he had six sons, one adopted daughter and one daughter out of wedlock. The sons were born during his first marriage, while one daughter was adopted after Lewis had later remarried. Reports stated that Lewis included a specific clause that excluded his sons and their descendants from inheriting anything from his estate.
The report stated that the estate is worth approximately $50 million, and due to the exclusion of the sons, the estate will pass to Lewis's widow and adopted daughter. However, it was noted that the daughter born out of wedlock is homeless and believes that she should be entitled to at least a portion of the estate. Lewis apparently never acknowledged this daughter despite DNA tests proving his paternity.
If any of the surviving children believe that there is reason to contest the will, it is possible that probate litigation could take place. Texas residents who have faced similar concerns over the estate plans of their loved ones may wonder whether they have reason to take such action themselves. Information on having standing and grounds to contest a will could potentially help concerned parties determine whether legal action could be warranted.
Source: insideedition.com, "Jerry Lewis Snubs His 6 Sons in Will, Leaving Entire Fortune to Wife, Adopted Daughter", Sept. 21, 2017