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Claims of relatives to du Pont estate ruled invalid

When a large estate has a seemingly unexpected beneficiary, the courts often must decide if the latest will is valid. Those working on estate planning in the Orlando area who fear they may have bequests that others might deem eccentric will be gratified to learn that an appeals court in another state recently upheld the requests of one eccentric millionaire, the late John du Pont.

In this particular case, according to reports, a niece and nephew of the deceased heir to the DuPont fortune filed a petition with the area's County Orphans Court to challenge the will, stating that du Pont was not mentally stable enough to given the majority of his vast fortune to a Bulgarian wrestler, his wife and their relatives. The petition claimed that the named beneficiaries must have held undue influence over du Pont, thus making the latest will invalid.

After the county court dismissed the challenge, the petition went to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. That court recently upheld the original dismissal. The court stated that the niece and nephew had no grounds for their claims because the probate process found that two wills by du Pont dating back to 2006 had not named them as heirs to the estate.

It's unclear if this case can be appealed to the state's Supreme Court, or if it will be. But the story does show that when estate complexities such as these develop, but a legally binding will that is properly prepared can help facilitate resolutions.

Before starting their wills or creating trusts, Orlando area estate owners need to know the laws surrounding estate planning in Florida, so they can make a plan that clearly and legally defines their legitimate final wishes.

Source: Mainline Media News, "Superior court: Du Pont relatives have no standing to contest will," Nov. 30, 2012

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