Larry King’s widow contests handwritten Will which leaves $2m estate to his children


23 February 2021

Larry King’s widow, Shawn Southwick King, has begun a legal challenge against her late husband’s handwritten Will, which purports to divide the TV legend’s estate among his children.

Southwick King argues that the former talk show host had “questionable mental capacity” at the time the Will was signed in October 2019, which was two months after he filed for divorce and 15 months before he died of sepsis in January this year.

According to Southwick King’s lawyers, King had just suffered a stroke when he wrote the Will and was susceptible to “outside influences”.

At the time of Mr King’s death, aged 87, his divorce had not been finalised. He was survived by Southwick King and their two children, Cannon and Chance, as well as by Larry King Jr, a son from a previous relationship.

The Will states that Mr King wanted “100% of my funds to be divided equally among my children”.

The handwritten Will contradicts the Will Mr King signed in 2015, in which his then-wife was named executor of the estate and the sole trustee of the King Family Trust, which appears to hold the bulk of her husband’s assets.

Larry Jr argues that his father and Southwick King were no longer together at the time of his death and were living separately after their house had been sold.

A hearing has been set for 24 February in Los Angeles County probate court.

Clearly this case will be dealt with in accordance with the law applicable in Los Angeles however, were the same facts to play out in England, it appears likely that Southwick King’s would be alleging that the Will would be invalid on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval and undue influence. The law in relation to each is complex and anyone wishing to challenge a Will on these grounds is encouraged to seek professional advice at an early stage to protect their position and understand the merits of their case.

If you are considering challenging the terms of a Will please do not hesitate to contact one of specialist Contentious Trust and Probate lawyers. 

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at February 2021.

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