After the passing of legendary talk show host Larry King earlier this year on January 23rd, his widow began a bitter battle challenging what is reported to be a handwritten will from Mr. King.
Click here to read a great recap from the Orlando Sentinel, but to summarize:
Larry King had an established estate plan from 2015 that reportedly names his widow, Shawn Southwick King, as the executor of his estate and the sole trustee of the King Family Trust. However, in 2019 there was a petition for divorce filed between the couple. Shortly after that petition, Mr. King’s family points to the handwritten will. Southwick King’s attorneys claim the couple was on the path to reconciling and the divorce was not pursued.
We talked with our experienced estate planning attorney David Pilcher for his thoughts on this:
“It is never a good idea to do your own estate planning at home. Mr. King appears to have prepared a handwritten document which might be considered a brand new will or perhaps just an amendment, called a codicil, to a prior will. It also might be completely invalid. That document has now opened a Pandora’s box that will almost certainly lead to extensive litigation. Had he consulted with an estate planning attorney, there likely would have been a professionally prepared document that would have avoided the many hurdles Mr. King’s family are now facing. However, at a certain level any plan, even one that is professionally prepared, can be contested and allegations regarding undue influence and diminished mental capacity are common, especially when the value of the estate is high.” – Bogin, Munns & Munns Attorney David Pilcher
Regardless of how much you have to protect, it’s always important to have a plan in place. Click here to connect with one of our estate planning attorneys.