Another Family War

March 16, 2010 Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

As I have been practising in the area of estate litigation for a few years, I occasionally think that I have seen it all; that every recurring story I hear about a family war tends to lose its originality. Not true. Take for instance a recent story that was posted online in the Telegraph, involving a U.S. estate fight.

Tasha Tudor was from New England and has been described as the “unconventional Martha Stewart.” Ms. Tudor died at the age of 92 following complications from a stroke.  The basis of Ms. Tudor’s estate dispute centers on her decision to leave almost her entire estate to her eldest son, virtually cutting out her three other children. 

The oldest son argues that his late mother intended to cut out his three siblings from her estate because they were estranged from her. One of the siblings, a U.S. Air Force lawyer, who claims he was not estranged from his late mother, has asserted that the 2001 Will is invalid on the basis that his older brother unduly influenced his late mother.

The dispute has gotten so acrimonious between the siblings that they could not even agree what to do with their mother’s ashes. On motion to the Court, it was ordered that Ms. Tudor’s ashes be divided in half, with one-half to be given to the oldest son and the other half to his siblings. Lawyers are now fighting over who is responsible for a snow plough bill!

It is reported that some of the last words by Ms. Tudor were “Oh, will there ever be a cat and dogfight when I die. But I don’t care. I won’t be here to see it.” 

It is often difficult to comprehend the harsh realities of litigation until you step into the shoes of one of the parties. I wonder if Ms. Tudor were alive to witness the severity of this dispute whether she would take back those words?

Thank you for reading

Rick Bickhram

Rick Bickhram – Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram.

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