We are working remotely and all of us continue to be available by telephone or email. In alignment with national, state and local initiatives as it relates to the coronavirus, we remain open for business and have changed the way we are working for the health and well-being of our employees, and you, our valued clients and colleagues. Read more

Mason & Helmers
We Welcome Your Call
  • Phone 651-323-2548
  • Toll Free 877-389-5533

Friend of late professor sues estate, claiming right to $100,000

Many residents of Minnesota, especially those who read this blog, are probably familiar enough with estate planning to know that typically a person uses a will to pass on property to those whom he or she chooses. However, there are other mechanisms of estate planning available. Joint property, payable on death accounts, IRA's, insurance policies and trusts are all means by which a Minnesota resident can pass his or her bounty on to others.

However, some means of passing on wealth, particularly when it is done at the last minute, might not be best suited to ensuring a smooth transition of wealth. As a case in point, the friend of a deceased professor recently sued the professor's estate and personal representative. The professor and the man were long time friends, and the professor even left several articles of personal property to the man in his will.

What complicates things, however, is the fact that the professor did not mention anything in his will about leaving $100,000 to the man. However, the friend of the professor claims the professor wrote him a $100,000 check near the end of this life. While this indeed might have been an attempt on the part of the professor to leave money to his friend, the estate contests the signature on this check and has declined to honor it. Most of the professor's estate, valued at up to $1 million, will likely go to his former university.

One lesson Minnesota residents can take from this is if one absolutely needs to make some last-minute and quick estate planning, it is best that the intent of the planning is well-documented. Ideally, estate plans will be spelled out in a will or another pre-planned, clear and legally valid document. Yet, even when this happens, sometimes probate litigation is unavoidable. In such cases, it may be advisable to seek the advice of an experienced probate litigation attorney.

Source: Portland Press Herald, "Friend sues estate of UMaine professor," Betty Adams, Dec. 29, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

For Assistance with Estate Disputes & Other Matters, Contact Us

To learn more about the firm and how we can assist you,
contact Mason & Helmers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Call 651-323-2548 or 877-389-5533 (toll free) to set up an appointment.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review
rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.

Contact Our Attorneys

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
Mason & Helmers

Mason & Helmers
332 Minnesota Street
Suite W-3070
St. Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 877-389-5533
Phone: 651-323-2548
St. Paul Law Office Map