Ford + Bergner LLP recently won a significant victory for a large client in a small town in East Texas. The case, which originally started out as a guardianship case, turned into a Will Contest when the proposed incapacitated person died.
In the case, Dr. Michael Reichert was the beloved doctor of Mount Pleasant, Texas, two hours east of Dallas. At age 63, Dr. Reichert suffered a massive stroke that left him incapacitated for the last 18 months of his life. During that time, his ex-wife and children took care of Dr. Reichert until a local auto mechanic in Mount Pleasant filed an Application for his guardianship. Despite having no relationship to Dr. Reichert, the mechanic was initially successful in having a guardian appointed for Dr. Reichert. The case was reported in a lengthy news report on Fox 4 in Dallas, and F+B partner Don Ford was interviewed extensively regarding the case.
After Dr. Reichert died, a long-lost daughter that he had not seen in over 30 years popped out of the woodwork to contest his Will. Although Dr. Reichert had created two Wills dating back as far as 1992 that made no provision for this daughter, she persisted that she was entitled to a share of his estate. At trial, F+B was successful in proving that Dr. Reichert’s Will was valid and that the daughter was not entitled to any portion of Dr. Reichert’s estate. The conclusion of the trial represented the close of a very dramatic and tiring period for Dr. Reichert’s family.
Contested estate, trust and guardianship cases can be very difficult in small counties where the lawyers and the courts are not as sophisticated as the lawyers and judge in the major cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. F+B has a strong track-record of success in small towns like Mount Pleasant.