You may have been one of many who binge-watched Netflix’s Tiger King during stay-at-home phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. If so, you are very familiar with Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, a non-profit animal sanctuary in Florida. The documentary Tiger King focuses on Joseph Schreibvogel who is now incarcerated after being convicted of a murder-for-hire plot against Ms. Baskin. One of the many issues raised by Mr. Schreibvogel in his obsessed criticism of Ms. Baskin was the disappearance of Ms. Baskin’s late husband, Don Lewis. Prior to his disappearance in 1997, Mr. Lewis purportedly executed a Will in which he disinherited his children and left everything to his wife, Ms. Baskin. Ms. Baskin inherited a fortune as a result Recently, a Florida Sheriff concluded that the Last Will and Testament produced by Ms. Baskin, was, in fact, a forgery. However, the statute of limitations have expired and therefore there cannot be criminal charges brought against Ms. Baskin.
The over-the-top and outlandish circumstances surrounding Mr. Schreibvogel and Ms. Baskin are by no means common, but the issue of forged and/or fraudulent estate planning documents are. If you suspect a Will may have been forged, executed under duress or undue influence, or that the person who executed the documents suffered from cognitive impairment at that time, you must timely raise your concerns in Court. In Maryland, there are specific time periods in which someone can challenge the validity of a Will, and/or pursue criminal charges for someone stealing, destroying, or changing a Will. Delay in raising your concerns could result in the inability to do anything about it.
If you have questions about how to challenge a Will, or if you would like to protect your own estate plan from successfully being challenged in Court, call our office at 410-740-1180, to set up a remote consultation today.
Source: Rollingstone.com,”Experts Say Carole Baskin’s Missing Husband’s Will Likely Forged,” Daniel Kreps, June 3, 2020