The world lost its “Rhinestone Cowboy” last year when country music legend Glen Campbell passed away on August 8, 2017. Known for songs like “Gentle On My Mind,” “Galveston,” and “Wichita Lineman,” Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and was married to his fourth wife, Kimberly Campbell, at the time of his death. He was survived by eight children. At the time of his death, Campbell was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which plagues one in three seniors aaccording to the Alzheimer’s Association. Since his death, a Will contest has been filed by three of Campbell’s children who were left out of the Will submitted for probate by Campbell’s widow.
Three of Campbell’s Children Are Left Out of Will
Not long after Campbell’s death, Campbell’s widow, Kimberly, submitted a 2006 Last Will and Testament for probate. That Will listed Kimberly and five of Campbell’s eight children as beneficiaries. Kimberly is also the Executor of Campbell’s estate. The Will left out three of Campbell’s children, stating he was “specifically excluding” his daughter Kelli and sons William and Wesley from receiving anything from the Will or a related trust. The three excluded children filed a Will contest, challenging Campbell’s testamentary capacity and alleging undue influence. Before the Will contest can proceed, however, the court must find that the contestants have “standing.” Standing is a legal term that refers to the right to bring a lawsuit or legal action. In the case of a Will contest, most states require you to be an “interested person” to have standing. An interested person, in turn, usually refers to a beneficiary under the current or previous Will, a legal heir, or a creditor of the estate. Once the court certifies that a contestant has standing, the underlying Will contest can proceed.
What Are They Fighting Over?
When an estate becomes involved in litigation, the cost can significantly diminish the value of the estate to be distributed. If Campbell’s Will contest continues, there may not be much in the way of tangible assets left to distribute. Campbell’s estate was originally estimated at around $50 million; however, that estimate was dramatically reduced by the Court last April to just $410,221. The largest asset was a 50 percent share in the AZPB Limited Partnership. That figure, however, does not include income from future royalties of Campbell songs, which could represent a significant future income for beneficiaries of the estate. Those future royalties are what the parties are fighting over.
In addition, lawyers for Campbell’s publicist filed for additional powers so they could hire accountants and other experts to aid in the estimation of assets. The petition states that the ongoing Will contest has hindered the progression of estate administration activities. When a Will contest is filed, the probate process slows almost to a stop because how the estate is ultimately distributed will be determined by the outcome of the litigation.
Campbell’s Widow Fires Back
Campbell’s daughter also filed a claim on July 14 to request a complete accounting of a previously undisclosed bank account owned by Campbell’s widow, Kimberly Campbell. The account had previously been a joint account. Apparently, all royalty and related payments had been deposited into that account.
Meanwhile, Campbell’s widow filed in May to invoke a Tennessee law that guarantees a widow a set percentage of her husband’s estate in the event he dies without a valid Will. Based on that law, Kimberly Campbell filed for a 40 percent share of the estate as well as a year’s support allowance. If the contestants are successful in their challenge to the existing Wills, the estate would be probated as an intestate estate, thereby making Kimberly’s filing relevant.
Campbell’s widow filed a claim against the estate for $506,380 for reimbursement of money spent during Campbell’s fight with Alzheimer’s disease. Expenses included the cost of assisted living care, the installation of a security fence, and legal fees. She also filed for $14,246 to recover an insurance payment for water damage that was erroneously paid to the estate instead of the family trust. Kimberly has filed notice that she will not challenge the right of the three children to contest the Will.
Contact Oklahoma City Probate Attorneys
For additional information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have questions or concerns regarding the probate of an estate, contact the experienced Oklahoma City probate attorneys at Parman & Easterday by calling 405-843-6100 or 913-385-9400 to schedule your appointment today.