Typically, if a will or trust is challenged, it happens after a person dies.
But as life spans grow longer and wealth accumulates among the aging, beneficiaries are increasingly seeking to secure inheritances while settlors are still alive.
The result? A marked rise in trust and estate litigation questioning mental capacity pre-death.
Faced with such challenges, Sumner Redstone — the former chair and controlling shareholder of Viacom and CBS Corp. — called on Loeb & Loeb’s Trust and Estate Litigation team to protect and preserve his advance health care directive and the estate plan he established to govern his fortune and legacy.
Mr. Redstone, an American businessman born in 1923 and a noted philanthropist who’s lived a long and distinguished life, sought an order from the Superior Court of the State of California to confirm the validity of modifications he made to the plan.
An ugly and very public legal battle ensued, questioning Mr. Redstone’s mental competency. The yearslong litigation not only required the Loeb team to handle sensitive trust and estate issues, it also required attention to personal health and private matters — all under intense public scrutiny.
An onslaught of legal actions fueled provocative headlines that riveted both Hollywood and Wall Street.
Opposing counsel boldly proclaimed to the press that “fifteen minutes should be more than enough” to establish that Mr. Redstone lacked sufficient mental capacity to execute his estate planning documents.
They were wrong.