Sometimes, the parties change their mind and have a will or trust prepared that leaves some or all of the assets to the second (or third or fourth) spouse. Obviously, this can upset the children of the more well to do spouse.
Such is the situation with Dr. Richard Grossman’s estate. You may know of Richard Grossman as the founder of the Grossman Burn Centers. He was a plastic surgeon who was a “burn treatment pioneer.” Dr. Grossman died in March 2014 and his fourth wife, Elizabeth, was the “beneficiary” of his approximately $20 million Hidden Valley estate in Thousand Oaks.
Dr. Grossman’s sons contend that in 2012 he was suffering from Alzheimer’s; that he had been taking Aricept for its treatment for many years; and that he was manipulated by his wife to change his estate plan. Mrs. Grossman’s attorney counters that two weeks after executing his new estate plan, he had a full neurological workup and that he was found to be competent.
As someone not involved with the case, I see a couple of issues playing out. One, was he competent? What do his medical records demonstrate? Two, even if he were competent, was he subject to undue influence?
Assuming he was being treated for Alzheimer’s, medical records are available. A lot can be gleamed from them. The sons might be able to prove their case from the medical records.
However, even if they cannot, they may be able to prove undue influence. Most fathers want to leave their children something. Dr. Grossman at the time of his wedding wanted to leave them a lot. What changed?
Often what happens in cases similar to this one, is that a trial date is set. However, before there is a trial, there is a settlement because the parties enter into mediation. However, if the mediation does not work, there may be a trial. This is one that I will be watching!