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Preserve Your Legacy

Estate Planning | Elder Law | Special Needs Planning



It is important to be completely honest with your attorney and share all relevant details with the possibility of an estate challenge in mind.

If you have any reason to believe that someone could step forward to challenge your wishes after you pass away you should definitely let your attorney know about it. There are things that he or she could do to dramatically reduce the likelihood of a successful challenge. However, your lawyer can’t act appropriately if you don’t share all the relevant facts.

A good example of the type of thing we are talking about here is exemplified by the case of the actor Sherman Hemsley who passed away last year. Hemsley was famous for portraying George Jefferson on The Jeffersons, and he was certainly an extraordinary comedic talent.

Hemsley was not close to any family members and he was never married. He didn’t have any children, and as a result he left everything that he had to a woman who was a close friend, someone that he considered to be family.

As the estate was being probated in El Paso, Texas a fellow from Philadelphia named Richard Thornton turned up to challenge the will. He said that he was Hemsley’s brother.

It turned out that he was in fact Hemsley’s half-brother after DNA testing was conducted. However, that in and of itself had no bearing on the validity of the will so it was ultimately upheld.

However, Hemsley died in July and he wasn’t buried until November.

As you can see from this case you should certainly let your attorney know about any long-lost relatives that may arrive on the scene after your passing.