Wendy Peterson, the estranged daughter of blind British pianist Sir George Shearing, plans to fight for a portion of her father’s estate after having been left out of his will. Contactmusic News reported that Peterson, who is Shearing’s daughter from his first marriage, has been estranged from her father for more than 10 years and blames her step-mother, Ellie, for the rift.
According to the New York Post, Shearing died from congestive heart failure on February 14 at the age of 91. Peterson said that she and Shearing “always had a great relationship.” But after Shearing and Peterson’s mother divorced “and then he met Ellie, she alienated him from me, my kids … I haven’t spoken to him in 12 years.”
Ellie, who is also referred to as "Lady Shearing," declined to comment on the issue.
Peterson also added that she would also not be attending the jazz legend's funeral at St. Thomas Church in New York this month because she cannot afford the trip from Nashville, Tennessee. However, she hopes her financial situation will change after she contests Shearing's will, which states that Peterson is expected to receive "nothing for reasons not stated but [which] she knows of."
According to FindLaw, an individual can typically contest a will based on the following grounds:
- The will was not executed appropriately,
- The testator lacked testamentary capacity or the ability to make the will;
- Fraud (the will was rewritten by someone else);
- Undue influence (someone may have forced the testator to write something in the will); or
- The will was written with error.
In this case, Wendy Peterson may want to consider seeking legal counsel from an experienced estate planning attorney who can explain her legal rights and determine the legal options she has in challenging Sir George Shearing's will.
For more general information on how to make or contest a will, visit the Related Resources links below.
- Contact A New York Estate Planning Lawyer (FindLaw)
- Reasons to Challenge a Will (FindLaw)
- How Can I Plan To Avoid A Will Contest? (FindLaw)
- Former Actor Tony Curtis Excludes Children From Will (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning Law News Blog)