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Texas Toast and Nebraska Will Contest

Michael Brinkman was murdered in 2016 by two men dressed in clown masks and Santa hats. They were looking for $200K he allegedly had in a safe. One of the men was caught and convicted based on DNA from a piece of Texas Toast from Raising Cane’s that fell out of his pocket and was traced to him.

Brinkman was survived by two children – Nicole and Seth. His will defined Seth as his son and the term “children” to include Seth and any children born after the will signing (Nicole was older). The will then left everything to his issue (a legal term for descendants). Nicole, who was not mentioned in the will, challenged it arguing that she was entitled to half of the estate because she was “issue” of Brinkman.

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that Nicole was entitled to half of the estate. To disinherit someone under a will in Nebraska, the person must be specifically excluded by the will.

Several quick points:

1. It is best to name disinherited children, or other possible excluded heirs, in a will so they cannot make the argument that Nicole did.

2. Contrary to popular belief, one does not have to leave a dollar to someone who is being disinherited. Simply naming them as excluded is sufficient.

3. It is also best not to carry partially eaten fast food in a pocket, especially when engaging in criminal activity.

Photo Credit:  Nicole Brinkman

License:  Fair Use/Education

 

(Not) Gentle On His Mind

After Glen Campbell died last year of Alzheimer’s disease, his fourth wife of 35 years presented a will to the probate court which excluded his 3 children from his second marriage. The will, which was executed in 2006, did provide for his wife and all of his children from his first, third, and fourth marriages. Naturally, his excluded children are contesting his mental capacity to execute the will.

Several brief points:

1. Campbell’s disinherited children will have to prove that Alzheimer’s caused him to forget that they were his children, or to harbor animus to them.

2. Their case will be difficult to prove because the will was executed five years prior to him telling the public that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

3. Their case will be doubly difficult because Campbell’s 2001 will also excluded them.

4. As a general rule, if you want to inherit from your father, do not sue him while he is alive (as they were alleged to have done over publishing rights).

Photo Credit:  Calli Shell for The Tennessean (in linked article)

License:  Fair Use/Education

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All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.