Whenever a family passes, that family member’s last will and wishes expressed may come as a surprise to some. However, those typically close to the person may already be aware of the declarations and wishes that are part of a will. When a Michigan family feels that a will does not seem to go along with what that family believes the person would have wanted, the family may have grounds to successfully contest the will. The family of baseball great Ernie Banks has made it clear they plan to dispute the will said to be left behind by Banks.

A woman named Regina Rice spent the last several years caring for the ill baseball player. The woman had him sign a will, health care directive and power of attorney. The family was unaware of these new documents until after Banks’ death. They claim that he was ill at the time that he signed the new will.

One provision in the new will was that Banks said he was making no provisions for his children or wife. The family also says Rice made direct communication with Banks difficult, and they mostly had to talk to her. The family says they will fight the will, and there is also an ongoing dispute over the fate of Banks’ remains. The family has made legal motions to stop Rice from cremating Banks’ body.

When there are caretakers and family members vying for the protection and care of a loved one, the wishes of that person can easily get misconstrued. For some, once illness has taken over a family member’s life, any changes to a will or estate plan may seem rash or suspect. To prevent misunderstandings or will disputes among Michigan families, it may be best to think about estate planning and expressing wishes for inheritances early in life before illness has set in or anyone can claim undue influence.

Source: galesburg.com, “Dispute over Ernie Banks will arises“, Feb. 16, 2015

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