Apparently Leona Helmsley is not alone. Gail Posner of Miami Beach, Florida passed away in March at the age of 67, from cancer. Her only son, Bret Carr, was left one million dollars, despite not being close with her in the years leading up to her death. They did reunite while she was on her deathbed, in the hospital, according to Carr.
The first problem, says Carr, is that his mother's three dogs received a $3 million trust fund and a $8.3 million mansion. But who can put a price on loyalty?
There's more. Posner's former staff (including bodyguards, a personal trainer and housekeepers) get $27 million. Wow -- that's some severance package!
Carr says he and his mother had a rocky relationship, but grew closer in the last decade or so, until 2008. What happened then? The staff kicked him out of Posner's house and convinced his mother to keep him away. He says he captured it all on video.
Carr also says the staff exercised "undue influence" and connived, cajoled, and coerced their way into the will. Mom never would have left all that money to the Chihuahua named Conchita, and the two other dogs, if the staff hadn't taken advantage of her. They realized, according to Carr's lawsuit, that convincing her to favor her canine companions would be a great way to keep themselves working (and getting paid) while living in that mansion. Someone has to care for the dogs after all, don't they?
The Today Show has a complete feature on the case.
While leaving millions to dogs (and millions more to staff) is a bit unusual, cases built around claims of undue influence are common. In fact, with the continued economic woes our country faces, these issues are popping up more and more -- from Florida to Michigan, New York to California, and everywhere in between.
Every states has laws to help families who believe that a will or trust was due to undue influence, as opposed to the true wishes of a deceased loved one. These cases aren't easy to prove, but are often necessary when someone has been targeted by an unsavory caregiver, family member, or gold-digger.
That's why experienced probate litigation attorneys are there to help.
Posted by: Andrew W. Mayoras and Danielle B. Mayoras, co-authors of Trial and Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founders of The Center for Probate Litigation and The Center for Elder Law in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law. Andrew and Danielle are husband and wife attorneys, professional speakers and consultants across the country.Follow us on Google+