JONES ESTATE STILL CONTESTED

The continuing probate litigation involving former Monkees frontman Davy Jones’s estate has resulted in the proceedings being shrouded in mystery, as legal experts throughout the nation postulate why the family chose to seal the musician’s will away from the probing eyes of the public.

Controversy has arisen in the execution of the man’s will because his now-widowed younger wife is not named in any of the estate documentation. In fact, the musician’s most recent will pre-dates their marriage by more than five years, according to family attorneys. His widow has filed a petition to be considered as a “pretermitted spouse,” which would entitle her to half of her husband’s property, barring any other provisions in a prenuptial agreement.

However, the woman has been up against Jones’s daughters, who are named in the will. Those daughters reportedly stayed away from the couple’s 2009 wedding, apparently because they disapproved of the age of their father’s new bride.

Still, experts speculate that the family members wanted Jones’s estate documents sealed away to protect his royalties and other holdings, perhaps because his financial situation was somewhat strained. Jones, who owned a condominium in Fort Lauderdale and a central Florida ranch with several horses, appeared to be in financial straits at the time of his death, with outstanding debts including medical bills, credit card debts and money owed to homeowner’s associations.

Experts agree that Jones would have been well served to consult a qualified estate planner to assist with this process, eliminating all confusion. If Jones had established a living trust instead of simply a will, all of these proceedings could have been done privately and out of court. Jones could have also avoided controversy by simply updating his will after his recent marriage. Instead, his wishes are now essentially voided by the laws of Florida.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.