08 / 10 / 2012

Feb 2012 VLF Litigates Against Stepmother for Children to share in Dad’s Estate

In a case the resembles a Grimms Brothers Fairy Tale, The Vethan Law Firm, P.C. successfully represented the four children of Dr. Alvin Wendt, a successful veterinarian/businessman, in a will contest concerning their father’s will against their former stepmother and estranged brother.

Our Clients alleged that their father's third wife unduly influenced their father, after he suffered a stroke, for her own benefit from 2004 until his death on Dec. 14, 2010. In fact, even after the third wife divorced Dr. Wendt, VLF’s clients alleged she still had operational control of his business holdings.

Soon after Dr. Wendt’s death, a document was presented to the probate court purporting to be Dr. Wendt’s last will and testament. Surprisingly, the document named the third wife (ex-wife) and her children by another marriage as beneficiaries, but excluded Dr. Wendt’s four children (our clients). Our client’s learned that their estranged half-brother & step mother had petitions the probate court to control their later father’s estate. Additionally, soon after the will was filed in probate court, she filed a claim as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy, seeking to recover over $1 million in life insurance proceeds. The Long and short of it was that Dr. Wendt’s biological children were being cut out of their father’s extensive estate. VLF attorneys were able to stop her from taking the insurance proceeds, and obtained a court order to deposit the insurance proceeds with the court, preserving funds, pending resolution of the dispute

Upon a close examination of the will, VLF’s attorneys discovered several inconsistencies with the signature, initials on the will and the document itself. VLF Aggressively litigated the case, used a handwriting expert to substantiate our suspicions about the will, and cross examined the attorney who prepared the will. VLF also obtained evidence to show that Dr. Wendt has previously suffered a stroke which affected his cognitive skills.

After three days of trial regarding the decedent’s mental capacity and the authenticity of the will itself, the case settled, and VLF’s clients were, at last, able to share in their father’s estate.


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