Yesterday, I put the spotlight on the unfortunate fight over the estate of baseball legend Ernie Banks. This post is about another estate, this time that of a renowned physician. The common thread? Changes to an estate plan when dementia is an issue.
You will not live long enough to make all of the mistakes in life, let alone when it comes to estate planning. Accordingly, it is wise to learn from the mistakes of others.
Dr. Richard Grossman was a renowed plastic surgeon and pioneer in the treatment of burn victims. He founded the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles, one one of the first to use a hyperbaric chamber to prevent infections in burn victims and speed burn recovery. He was worth millions when he died a year ago this month.
A recent article in the Thousand Oaks (CA) Acorn, titled “Battle over Grossman estate intensifies,” describes the contentious fight over a his estate. The litigants? His wife and his children from a previous marriage.
With all of the assets going to the wife, the children assert that the doctor had advanced dementia and, therefore, was not able to make his own decisions.
The Grossman children claim their father and his wife, their stepmother, had a prenuptial agreement when they married in 2000 that kept the property of each separate.
The children are seeking to keep her from selling Grossman’s main asset, Brookfield Farms.
According to the children, the doctor wanted to keep the estate in his family. They want the estate be distributed in trust for the benefit of the doctor’s grandchildren and one of his children suffering from a neurological condition who needs family support to care for him.
Whether you own a million-dollar farm or a modest home in the suburbs, avoid family feuds by seeking the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. He or she can help ensure that your intentions are clear and carried out.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: Thousand Oaks (CA) Acorn (February 19, 2015) “Battle over Grossman estate intensifies”