Famous grandson wins inheritance litigation

In matters of estate in California or elsewhere, it is imperative that instructions in a last will and testament or trust be written so that all parties specified clearly understand the terms in the documents. If a particular phrase or wording is ambiguous, it could affect the validity of a particular inheritance document. Actress/model/swimsuit designer Elizabeth Hurley had a son out of wedlock years ago and his biological, paternal grandfather tried to convince the court that the term "grandchild" contained in a trust was ambiguous.

The grandfather, a wealthy real estate heir, established a trust in 1980. It was intended to benefit any and all grandchildren he might one day have through birth or adoption. However, back in March, he decided that since Hurley's son was born out of wedlock, he should not have to consider him a grandchild and filed documents requesting that the legal definition of "grandchild" refer only to offspring his son has actively raised as part of the family.

The grandfather's own son, who had a relationship with Hurley, is said to be worth nearly $500 million. He also has a biological daughter from a different relationship; the grandfather tried to prohibit her from accessing the trust for similar reasons. As it turns out, both Hurley's son and his half-sister will indeed share in a portion of the inheritance associated with the 1980 trust.

The court ruled that the term, "grandchild" is not ambiguous. Hurley's son and his half-sister are both grandchildren to their real estate heir grandfather, no matter how he tried to spin things to say he did not consider them his heirs. If anyone in California is currently having difficult resolving similar family disputes regarding inheritance, it may help to consult an attorney who is well-versed on such issues.

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