Hemsley Estate Challenge Is Instructive
What Happens When Mr. Jefferson Dies on the East Side?
The actor Sherman Hemsley died last year, and he did in fact leave behind a last will. It left everything to his very close friend and confidant Flora Enchinton, and in the will he also named her as the executrix.
Sherman Hemsley did not have any children and he had never been married. According to Enchinton, who had known him for some 20 years, he never mentioned having any close family.
Because of all of the above you would think that the estate of Sherman Hemsley would have been administered rather simply. However, a man named Richard Thornton stepped forward to complicate matters.
This individual challenged the Will, stating that he was Hemsley’s brother. Hemsley resided in El Paso, Texas, and the probate court judge in TX ordered DNA testing. The tests proved that Richard Thornton was indeed Hemsley’s half-brother.
As they say, that and a couple of dollars will get you a cup of coffee in El Paso. It does not entitle you to the estate of your half-brother
The court ruled in favor of Enchinton, and after a considerable delay Sherman Hemsley’s body was finally put to rest at Fort Bliss National Cemetery. We know him as an actor, but he was also a veteran of the Armed Forces.
This case is instructive because it demonstrates why you should definitely inform your attorney about every last detail when you are drawing up an estate plan. Will contests can and do happen, and if your attorney is not aware of all the facts he or she cannot take steps to mitigate the possibility of successful challenges.