Estate planning is a helpful legal method for specifying how personal assets will be distributed in the event of death. The actual execution of a last will and testament, however, can be hindered by complicated family dynamics or disagreements with the prearranged terms. When the benefactor's death is related to the injurious actions of a potential beneficiary, further legal evaluation may be necessary to determine who is eligible to inherit the estate.
Our Orlando readers should take note of the dispute surrounding one Florida millionaire's sizeable estate. The man was the victim of a brutal contracted murder in 2009, leading to his wife's conviction for her alleged involvement. Although the wife was reportedly the chief heir to the multimillion-dollar estate, strictures of Florida probate law disqualify the woman due to her role in her husband's death.
The estate in question has been estimated to be worth around $4.2 million and reportedly includes Fort Lauderdale properties, a yacht and 10 classic automobiles. The millionaire's stepdaughter can potentially inherit $150,000, and her two adult sons may also become beneficiaries of the remaining estate, primarily through trust funds.
Relatives of the benefactor, including a half-brother from an adoption, are legally contesting the will. The half-brother and other opposing family members are aiming to nullify the claims of the deceased millionaire's stepdaughter and her sons.
When deciding on the distribution of assets, it is essential for benefactors to consider all of the contingencies and educate themselves regarding the legal consequences that can result from vague or conflicting terms. Even with a well-planned will, unforeseen circumstances can still place an estate under the jurisdiction of a probate court. However, a will with clearly defined terms of succession can help legal authorities determine whom to name as a beneficiary if the original heir is disqualified.
Source: LoHud.com, "Narcy Novack case: Daughter poised to inherit multimillion dollar estate," Jorge Fitz-Gibbon and Jonathan Bandler, Jan. 11, 2013