There was more than one will written by musician and music video pioneer Michael Nesmith, who came to fame in the 1960s as one of The Monkees rock group and died at his Carmel Valley home on Dec. 10, 2021.
Theirs is evidence that musician Michael Nesmith of the Monkees had several wills. A handwritten will from 2014 was submitted to Monterey County Superior Court in California in December. There’s evidence of at least one other handwritten will from an earlier time. Nesmith’s four adult children are now also saying that there exists a true will created in 1994. These type of problems could have been avoided if he had consulted with an estate planning lawyer.
One problem, says Monterey County Weekly’s recent article entitled “Michael Nesmith’s four children claim there’s another will and contest the estate’s worth.” They don’t have a copy of the 1994 will yet, according to court documents filed on March 17.
“Objectors believe that the document is a codicil to the decedent’s will, which he executed in 1994,” the objection states. (A codicil is a legal term for an addition or amendment to, or a revocation of, a previous will.) They’ve sent subpoenas to the estate planning attorneys who drafted the 1994 will, requesting the attorneys to produce it.
The children assert that since Nesmith’s one-page, handwritten will, dated July 8, 2014, doesn’t state that the new will revokes all previous wills, it’s not the true will, only an amendment. That will leave everything Nesmith owns to the Gihon Foundation, which was created in 1977 by his mother Bette Graham, the inventor of Liquid Paper. Nesmith was president of the foundation, and his children are members of the board.
Nesmith’s estate was estimated to be roughly $3.6 million by Nesmith’s business manager and accountant Cynthia Davis, who filed the court papers after his death requesting to be named by the court as the estate’s special administrator. He probably could have avoided probate for his estate if he had consulted an estate planning lawyer and prepared an revocable living trust.
However, the Monkee’s children say that the estate is actually valued at $1.95 million. They believe that Davis incorrectly included in her estimation assets that are part of a trust, also executed in 1994. That trust leaves all furniture, furnishings, personal effects, vehicles and “all other tangible or intangible personal property” to Nesmith’s ex-wife, Victoria Kennedy, to whom he was married at the time of the 1994 will and trust.
Although the children said they don’t have the 1994 will yet, they did submit as evidence a copy of a one-page document stating that Kennedy will receive his belongings. It’s signed by Nesmith as trustor of the “1994 Presidential Trust,” as well as Kennedy, who’s named as trustee.
A court is expected to resolve the issues at a hearing this spring.
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Reference: Monterey County Weekly (March 23, 2022) “Michael Nesmith’s four children claim there’s another will and contest the estate’s worth”