Craig's Corner - Wealth Planning Insights

Friday, July 10, 2015

Firestorm Erupts Following Death of Jazz Legend B.B. King

Are will contests common? What kinds of allegations are usually made by beneficiaries when objecting to a will? 

Sadly, will contests are an all-too-common component of the will probate process, particularly in high-profile families or surrounding high-net-worth estates. In today’s post, we explore the burgeoning issues surrounding the death of jazz icon B.B. King, who passed away in Las Vegas on May 15, 2015, was ultimately laid to rest in Mississippi following a festive memorial parade down Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Nonetheless, the party was abruptly drawn to a close as surviving family members quickly initiated objections to the structure of his Last Will and Testament – particularly highlighting Mr. King’s choice to name his long-time business manager as executor and manager of the entire estate. 

Basics of Objections by King Family 

Much of Mr. King’s estate is arranged in trust, and as such will not be revealed publicly. However, nearly all trusts are accompanied by a pour-over will, which governs the disposition of property inadvertently left out of the estate or acquired after death. This document, which becomes part of the public record through the probate process, names Mr. King’s business manager as the executor of his entire state – to the exclusion of his 11 surviving children and 35 grandchildren. 

At the heart of the objectors’ claims are the startling allegations of mistreatment and the allegedly intentional poisoning of Mr. King prior to his death. Further, high-profile attorneys for four of the King children have asserted that the business manager prevented family from visiting the ailing legend in his final days, as well as siphoned nearly $1 million from his bank accounts using a power of attorney. 

Following several hearings in Clark County court, Judge Gloria Sturman refused to allow the will contests to continue – stating that there was not enough evidence at the time to remove Mr. King’s chosen executor from the position. In a statement by the court, “[h]e worked his entire life to provide for his family….The thing he left for you is his amazing body of work. Somebody has got to make sure that his legacy is protected."

If you would like to create or update your estate plan, please do not hesitate to contact estate planning attorney Craig Stone at the Las Vegas Stone Law Offices today: 877-800-3424. 

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S. Craig Stone II of Stone Law Offices, Ltd. serves clients throughout Clark County, Southern NV, Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, North Las Vegas, Summerlin, Carson City, Reno, Washoe County, and Nye County. Also serving clients with asset protection nationwide.

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