Berge & Berge, LLP Blog

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Glenn Campbell Estate Faces Will Contest

Can Alzheimer’s disease impact a will contest?

The first line of the last song the late country music legend, Glenn Campbell, performed before succumbing to his longtime battle with Alzheimer’s disease was telling. This song titled, I’m Not Gonna Miss You, begins with the line, “I’m still here, but yet I’m gone…”.

Was he thinking about the three children he reportedly disinherited when he came up with the title? Will the same three children use that first line in their legal efforts to get his last will and testament thrown out? Hopefully, his estate planning attorneys took special care when creating a comprehensive estate plan for someone vulnerable to a will contest.

Sadly, the superstar’s estate has all the makings of a will contest— a celebrity with massive wealth including future royalties generating income; disinherited children; a disease impacting mental capacity; and the potential for undue influence over the person making the will (who is called the “testator”). But will contests happen to regular people as well.

To contest somebody’s will, you have to have legal standing to object to the will--which usually happens in cases where children receive disproportionate shares (or are disinherited completely) under the will or when distribution schemes from a prior will have been altered in a later will. Glenn Campbell’s will reportedly left his assets to his widow and only five of his eight children, disinheriting the other three.

Frequently, will contests are based on claims that the testator was unduly influenced or pressured by somebody else to distribute their assets in a certain way at the time the will was made. Contests are also based on claims that the testator lacked the mental capacity to understand what they were doing at the time the will was made. Alzheimer’s disease can understandably complicate such matters.

Very often, people elect to use living trusts to transfer their assets to their heirs avoiding probate and the costs, delays, and public nature associated with the probate process. They would still need a will to cover transferring the assets not included in the trust as well as for other situations, like naming legal guardians for minor children.

If you would like assistance with a comprehensive estate plan or would like to modify an existing one, the Law Offices of Berge & Berge can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in San Jose, California, we’ve been proudly serving clients throughout the South Bay area in all aspects of trusts and estate planning and administration for over 23 years.

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