A will challenge over an estate believed to contain a $100 million dollar art collection is under way
A will challenge can be a costly process. Estate litigation in general can become very expensive for all the parties involved. This is true if the parties become entrenched in their positions, and if they have the resources required to fund litigation. A will challenge involving a vast estate with a large number of assets can be even more expensive.
A recent story online about the estate of Melva Bucksbaum found on Page Six covers a will challenge that has the potential to drag on for many years and to result in significant costs to all the parties involved. Melva Jane Bucksbaum (April 5, 1933 – August 16, 2015) was an American art collector. She was known for her vast collection of artwork and was a world famous patron of the arts. Experts have speculated that her estate is worth over $200 million with her art collection alone being valued at over $100 million.
The dispute is between her husband Raymond Learsy and her three children from her previous marriage. Ms. Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy had been married for 15 years prior to her death. Ms. Bucksbaum allegedly left him $10 million and a $30 million home. Mr. Learsy is challenging her will. His position is that he is entitled to half of Ms. Bucksbaum’s estate. As it is not clear what the value of the estate is, he could be entitled to significantly more from the estate than under the will.
It is not yet clear on what basis the will is being challenged. A will challenge must have legal grounds. As an example, a will can be challenged if the testator was under duress to exclude a potential beneficiary, or if the testator lacked capacity to create a will, or to modify a will already in place. There are many legal grounds to challenge a will, and a person bringing a will challenge needs to have prudent legal advice before proceeding. Nonetheless, it is easy to see how a person in Mr. Learsy’s position may feel he is entitled to more from the estate. Relatively speaking, he is receiving a small portion of the estate which may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It will be interesting to follow this story and find out more details.
More on this story here.