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Estate planning requires a sound mind

Most states, including Oklahoma, require a person to be of sound mind when writing and signing a will. The question of whether a person had strong mental capabilities when handling his or her estate planning is one that often results in a will contest. One family is now preparing for a battle to determine the final wishes of a pillar of their community.

The woman died after suffering for nine years with Alzheimer's disease. She was known for her civic accomplishments, but what most people remember about her was the floral shop she ran at the same location for decades. In her will, drafted two years before her death, she left all rights to the florist shop to her oldest daughter. The rest of her estate was divided evenly between that daughter and her surviving son, except for 10 percent that went to the daughter of her son who died in 1982.

The granddaughter believes she should receive her late father's equal share of the estate, including rights to the floral shop. She feels her aunt took advantage of the elderly woman's illness to persuade the shop owner to change the will and turn her against the granddaughter. According to the granddaughter, it was common knowledge that the woman wanted to split the estate into three equal portions, with the granddaughter receiving what would have been her father's share had he been alive.

Attorneys for both sides are investigating the claims and accusations as they wait for a hearing date. Meanwhile, people in Oklahoma are advised to review their estate plans frequently and to discuss the plans with their beneficiaries. An estate planning attorney can also give advice and guidance to anyone who wishes to contest the contents of a will.

Source: news-press.com, "Veronica Shoemaker's will challenged in court", Bill Smith, Nov. 3, 2016

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