In a previous post we highlighted the estate challenge that has arisen around the estate of the deceased actor Sherman Hemsley. We now have some new information to pass along regarding a firm court date and a court ordered DNA test.
Hemsley, who starred as the irrepressible George Jefferson in the classic sitcom The Jeffersons, died back in July. Since then his body has been housed in an El Paso funeral home.
Estate planning attorneys always emphasize the fact that the probate process opens the door for those who may want to challenge your wishes. There are ways to arrange for the transfer of assets outside of probate and mitigate the possibility of successful challenges.
The above having been stated, Sherman Hemsley executed a last will that must be probated. His sole heir as stated in the last will document is his partner and manager Flora Enchinton, who lived with him in El Paso for some 10 years according to reports.
A Philadelphia man named Richard Thornton has challenged the will. He contends that he is Sherman Hemsley’s brother. He apparently feels as though he is entitled to assume ownership of Hemsley’s remaining resources though he is not mentioned in the last will.
The judge has set an October 31st court date and ordered Thornton to undergo DNA testing to determine whether or not his claim is true.
It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out and we will share the outcome of the case when it is finally resolved.
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Parman & Easterday
Parman & Easterday are members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.