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Darla Lexington Battles Estate of John O'Quinn

The battle between Darla Lexington and the estate of John O'Quinn is getting bigger. Dallas News reports that the long time companion of John O'Quinn claims that the cars that the estate wants to auction off were gifts to her. Last week, we covered how Darla Lexington attempted to seek an injunction last Friday from auctioning off three classic Corvettes from his estate. That request for an injunction was denied by Judge Mike Wood in Harris County probate court.

This particular legal battle marks the first time that Darla Lexington has fought with the estate since the late famed lawyer passed away in a car crash in 2009. His will stated that he left the entirety of his estate to a foundation. He did not leave Darla Lexington anything in his estate. The will was dated from 2008. She testified that the estate refused to recognize the role she played in John O'Quinn's life: "They've treated me like I never knew John O'Quinn," she testified. She calls the late lawyer her "husband, partner and lover."

If you ask a NY estate attorney, he or she will tell you that in New York, unless a longtime companion is named in a will, there are not too many ways to make a claim on the estate. However, if there is a spouse cut out of a will, that spouse can file something known as a "Right of Election." This entitles the spouse to a share of the deceased spouse's estate. It is important to note that a spouse must file this within 6 months that the letter of testamentary are issued. The share that the surviving spouse may receive is $50,000 or one third of the net estate (whichever is greater).

This particular Houston legal battle should serve as a reminder to keep those estate planning documents updated. If you don't have any estate planning documents, now would be a good time to get in touch with a New York estate planning lawyer.

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