Five adopted children contest late father’s will

Published 23 Sep 2015

In the realm of contesting wills, the entire process is significantly trickier when there are step-children and adopted children involved. With different relationships influencing decisions made both before and after death, the scope of deciding who gets what is difficult to work out.

As such, many circumstances of this nature end up in court which is where the assistance of a contesting wills lawyer can come in handy.

Astec Industries CEO J. Don Brock?

One of four founders of Astec Industries, Dr J Don Brock carved a successful career both in the US and overseas. Throughout his years with the business, Mr Brock held the CEO and chairman positions, helping to grow the organisation into one of the world’s leading construction firms.

However, in March 2015, Mr Brock lost his battle with mesothelioma cancer and died in a Tennessee hospital. In the months since his death, Mr Brock’s family situation has come to light and five of his adopted children are now contesting his will, according to timesfreepress.

Signed in 2013, the will omits five of the nine children whom he shares with his surviving wife.

What are the arguments of the contested will?

The children seeking provisions from their father’s case have a number of arguments to base their challenge on, according to The Chattanoogan.

Firstly, there is the lack of testamentary capacity. Mr Brock struggled with cancer during his final years and his children believe he was not in the right frame of mind to change the will in 2013.

Secondly, the children will argue that their father was under undue influence during the will writing stage and there was an element of fraud. Based on the newspaper article, the children who were left in the will had developed a confidential relationship with their father and planned to remove the other five from the will.

There are also claims that his second wife, and the stepmother of the five adopted children, had forged his signature on numerous occasions. The challengers suspect that this was done on the 2013 will document. At the time, Mr Brock was receiving aggressive cancer treatment and potentially was not in a state to make changes.

In recent weeks, the case has moved from the Probate Court to Circuit Court and will now be heard by a jury who will decide on provisions.

While this case seems complex, it is common among blended families. If you need assistance in contesting a will, contact our expert legal team today.

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