Some would posit that Larry King lead a fascinating life pioneering late night cable television talk shows. Countless others made a career and reached celebrity status following the trail Larry blazed. His estate planning leaves a quite different legacy.
In 2015, Larry married wife #7 and they together prepared a new estate plan which essentially left everything to #7. In 2019, Larry prepared a handwritten will supposedly directing that all prior documents be disregarded and left everything to his five children (from previous ex-Mrs. Kings), and excluded #7. The 2019 “Will” referenced five children but Larry named only four of them; it incorrectly spelled some children names; and it included typos and grammatical errors as the norm.
Passing in early 2021, the battles over control of his estate began before Larry reached room temperature. #7 claimed that while separated, she and Larry were reconciling in 2021 despite pending divorce proceedings. #7 asserted that Larry’s children sought to unduly influence an elderly and infirm Larry King. The children relied on the 2019 “Will” despite all its legal deficiencies. The children, ranging in ages from 20 to 59, claimed that the 2019 “Will” established that #7 became just like #1 – #6. Larry King teaches us to take seriously estate planning. Entire estate plans can be compromised or undone with one hand-written document. With his health failing at age 87 in 2019, those who encouraged having him draft a hand-written new “Will” had to appreciate that undue influence could become an issue.
The fastest growing segment of society getting married are those over age 70. These December – December romances result in late in life blended families. Extra care is needed to address estate planning at this stage, especially to avoid estate contest battles; make certain that your children are protected as you wish; and ensure that no mental capacity issues are in play. Contact Michael Geiger at Geiger Law to avoid the “Larry King Trap” as well as for all your estate planning needs.