The Star Tribune has reported today that Ernie Banks, all star shortstop of the Chicago Cubs who died January 23rd at the age of 83 has left his estate to his caregiver Regina Rice. Banks made his will last October and the witnesses reported that he told them he was not intending to leave anything to his family. No surprise that although a Cook County judge has ruled that the Will was valid, Banks’ family is challenging it in court.
While there are often good reasons to justify a large bequest to a caregiver, the relationship between a caregiver and his or her patient is one which allows substantial opportunity to exert undue influence on a testator. It is a relationship which warrants scrutiny, especially if the attorney drafter was retained by the caregiver and was not the personal attorney for the patient. This one will be in and out of the headlines for a while.