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Georgia Supreme Court favors mistress in estate battle

In a 4-3 decision, the Georgia Supreme Court determined that the mistress of a deceased Marietta car salesman should receive the proceeds from the sale of a Florida condo.

Divorce can complicate a number of aspects of one's life, including one's estate plan, particularly when other individuals come into the picture and make their way into one's estate plan. What makes the recent Supreme Court decision so controversial, though, is that shortly before the former car salesman died, his mistress wheeled him into his attorney's office to rework his will to leave her about $6 million of his $37 million estate.

While the bulk of the man's assets went to his wife, their children, and their grandchildren in his 1988 will, he also left assets to his mistress of 10 years, including a condominium in Cape Cod, Mass., a monthly allowance of $7,900 and a condominium in Florida. Those assets were signed over in 2003, during a time when the man had reportedly been drinking around a gallon and a half of wine every day, according to court records.

Sources said the recent decision was the third time the Georgia Supreme Court heard the case, which was characterized as a "long trek" by the attorney representing the estate and an "epic love story" by attorney for the mistress.

In October 2009, the court determined that the mistress shouldn't receive the Cape Cod property or the allowance. A probate judge then determined that she wasn't to receive any proceeds from the sale of the Florida condo, which was apparently set to be sold for $1.36 million just before the man died.

It was later determined, though, that Florida law protects those receiving property under a will from disinheritance, and that the law applied to the Florida condo.

Source: Rome News Tribune, "Ga. Court sides with mistress in divorce," Greg Bluestein, 31 May 2011.

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