In the wake of the Fall 2019 death of Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the popular 1980s band The Cars, his estate is being discussed in the forum of public opinion. Many in the media believe that this will eventually lead to a legal battle between beneficiaries, based on stipulations made in a recent Will.
Ocasek was married for nearly 30 years to Sports Illustrated model Paulina Porizkova, but divorce proceeding began in May 2018. They were not officially divorced at the time of his death in September 2019, and Porizkova was the one who found him at the time of his passing. Because they were still legally married, this may still give his widow rights over his estate.
However, Ocasek did sign a new Will weeks before his death, before a surgery, allegedly removing her as a beneficiary, as well as two of his children. He made a particular note saying that she abandoned him, though there may be evidence to the contrary, and they did still share living quarters.
Ocasek leaves an estate valued at approximately $1.7 million in assets, and $5 million in copyrights – not including anything that would be considered joint property between the couple or property of any other beneficiaries.
It may be in the best interest of Porizkova to file a claim against the estate, explaining that they were still married and there was no abandonment, so she should be entitled to the benefits of a spouse. It might also be beneficial for the two children excluded from the recent Will to challenge the Will as beneficiaries, citing any hardships they may face as a result.
While their success depends on the laws of New York, if this case was taking place in, say, New South Wales, an attorney might stress that the widow was the spouse at the time of death, therefore she has the right to contest the Will pursuant to Section 57(1) of the Succession Act 2006.
The lawyer might also submit into evidence the continuing relationship, the length of their relationship, the extent of the estate, any obligation present (such as spousal support discussed) and her financial need.
Representatives for the children might also want to highlight the nature of the relationship and extent of the estate, as well as any need present. They may also want to point out the considerations made to other children and suggest something comparable.
If you need help challenging a Will, don’t hesitate to contact Gerard Malouf and Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today for a free consultation.