A Philadelphia man named Richard Thornton has stepped forward to challenge the estate of the departed comedic actor Sherman Hemsley.
Hemsley, who rose to stardom via his role as the character George Jefferson on the classic sitcom The Jeffersons, died on July 24 at the age of 74 at his home in El Paso, Texas. Though George Jefferson was quite an attention seeker people close to Hemsley say that he was quite the opposite, a private individual who preferred to keep a low profile.
His live-in partner Flora Enchinton was by his side at the time of his death, and she was named in his will as executor and sole heir.
She says that she knew Sherman Hemsley for 20 years and lived with him for the last 10 years of his life. During all that time she never heard the actor say anything about having a brother. However, Richard Thornton claims to be Hemsley’s brother, and he is of the mind that he should be allowed to assume ownership of the deceased actor’s possessions.
The matter is being decided by the probate court in El Paso.
When you hear about this situation you see why Cleveland estate planning lawyers often suggest probate avoidance strategies to their clients. During the probate process anyone who wants to hold things up and make a claim can do so, and oftentimes this can be to the detriment of the bereaved rightful heirs.
Flora Enchinton feels as though this challenge to Hemsley’s last will is an indignity and she is understandably quite upset about the situation according to reports.