The estranged wife of late Cubs legend Ernie Banks claims the Hall of Famer was diagnosed with dementia days before he signed a will that left his entire estate to his caregiver.
Ernie Banks was in the middle of a long and somewhat contentious divorce with Elizabeth Banks, his fourth wife, when he passed away in January at age 83. The court petition, which was recently made public, says that Elizabeth Banks disputed a March ruling that validated Banks' will. That will left all of his estate to his caregiver, Regina Rice.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Elizabeth Banks argued in the filing that Ernie’s health was in a rapid state of decline since the preceding October when he was injured in a fall. Rice, who was a longtime friend to Ernie Banks, took him in to live with her at her home in Plainfield, Illinois while he was recovering.
Elizabeth Banks alleged in those March proceedings that Regina Rice coerced the ailing baseball legend and “Mr. Cub” into making changes to his will to give Regina all of the assets. However, two paralegals testified in the case that Ernie had the capacity and was of sound mind during the notarization of the will changes. The witnesses also said Ernie also said to them that he didn’t plan to leave money to his family.
Regina Rice has told the media that Ernie’s estate was worth a little more than $16,000 when he passed away.
For more on this story see a recent Sporting News article titled “Estranged wife claims Ernie Banks had dementia when he signed will.”
Make sure that your estate plan is legal and solid, so that there are no conflicts over your assets. Contact a qualified estate planning attorney to discuss your situation.
Reference: Sporting News (July 27, 2015) “Estranged wife claims Ernie Banks had dementia when he signed will”