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Dispute over Ernie Banks' Will

A dispute between the family of Ernie Banks and the woman who cared for him during his final years intensified Monday with his twin sons asserting that the caretaker coerced the Chicago Cubs baseball great into signing a new will giving her all his assets.

Ernie Banks, a.k.a. "Mr. Cub", suffered a protracted illness before his death. During that time he was cared for by a friend, Regina Rice. Initially, Banks' family praised Rice and thanked her for looking after the baseball player in his last months. However, it did not take very long after the funeral for the family and Rice to get involved in two disputes.

First, Banks' widow went to court to stop Rice from having Banks' remains cremated. For now that might be a moot point as no one claims to know where Banks' body is currently located.

The second dispute centers on some estate planning documents Rice allegedly had Banks sign last October. As well as making Rice his power of attorney at that time, Banks also signed a new will to leave his entire estate to Rice. His wife and children were specifically cut out of any inheritance with the only reason given that they would know why.

Banks' sons, however, through their attorney claim not to know "why" and claim that Rice coerced Banks into signing the will when he was too sick to do so.

ESPN Chicago reported the story in a recent article titled "Suitability of Banks' caretaker faulted."

This case is still in its early stages. Accordingly, it is too soon to speculate how it might turn out.

Unfortunately, this is not an unusual story. Anytime an elderly, ill person rewrites a will to exclude family, the will is likely to be challenged.

To avoid missteps, especially when it comes to changing your estate plan, be sure to contact an experienced estate planning attorney. He or she can help you avoid the courthouse front door.

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