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Trial regarding Gene Upshaw’s will would have been compelling

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Earlier this week, MDS pointed out a report that Gene Upshaw’s widow received $15 million in deferred compensation after the Hall of Fame lineman and former NFLPA executive director died following a brief bout with pancreatic cancer in 2008.

Tom Jackman of the Washington Post, who broke the news of the $15 million payout, also has tracked down some details regarding a legal fight over Upshaw’s will, which was scheduled to go to trial this week.  The case ultimately was settled out of court.

Upshaw’s son from a prior marriage, Eugene Upshaw, III, challenged a will that was signed on the day Upshaw died, August 20, 2008.  Eugene III claimed that his father “was in no condition to sign anything or give any instructions as he was sedated and not conscious.”  Upshaw’s widow, Terri, claimed that her husband was “coherent and able to speak.”

But Upshaw wasn’t able to sign the will, so his friend, Norman Singer, signed it for Upshaw.  Eugene III challenged the document because it gave his father’s entire estate, worth $19.7 million, to Terri.  If Upshaw had died without a will, Virginia law (his state of residence) would have limited Terri’s share to only one third of the estate, with Eugene III and Upshaw’s two other children sharing the remaining two thirds.

Per Jackman, Eugene III was prepared to introduce testimony from medical experts, who would have testified that Upshaw “would not have appropriately appreciated the implications of any of the directions he allegedly gave to Norman Singer.”  Though the ultimate division of the estate isn’t known, it’s safe to assume that Eugene III received a substantial share.

The obvious lesson here is that everyone with any assets needs to have a will.  Upshaw’s death came quickly, too quickly for him to get his affairs in order.  Even at age 63, he either assumed that the end was decades into the future — or he simply preferred not to think about it.  That lack of planning resulted in two teams of lawyers making plenty of money as they sorted out the details.

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14 Responses to “Trial regarding Gene Upshaw’s will would have been compelling”
  1. captainwisdom8888 says: May 6, 2011 9:18 PM

    My wife’s gonna have an allowance.

  2. citizenstrange says: May 6, 2011 9:18 PM

    $15 MILLION in deferred compensation? Jimmy Hoffa would be proud.

  3. willycents says: May 6, 2011 9:20 PM

    great last paragraph. Let me add to that; anyone who does not have a will is foolish, and anyone who does not have a “living” will is even more foolish. The only thing that allowed my mother to die with dignity last year (@ age 93) was her living will. Members of my family wanted her kept “alive” because, per them, “she will recover and have many more enjoyable years.” Hell, she had had a mojor stroke and was paralyzed. Y’all get you a living will done up so YOU control what happens to you if incapacitated.

  4. gavinmac says: May 6, 2011 9:32 PM

    His “friend” signed the will for him as he was dying? That’s ridiculous. If I were the judge I would have tossed that will right out of court. Of course, it’s ridiculous for a 63 year old man with a $19.7 million estate not to have a will in the first place.

  5. timmytoad says: May 6, 2011 9:33 PM

    I hate family lawsuits over money, however this one seemed justified. I would of sued if I was his son. Someone else signed for him on the day he died?

    I still find it unbelievalbe that he died 4 days after being diagnosed. He must of been a tough guy till the end. He had to have some bad symptoms from this for a long time. Another lesson from this is to see a doctor and not try to tough things out if you have on-going issues.

    My wife has had two cousins die from this before the age of 50 and they had symptoms for about a year.

  6. duanethomas says: May 6, 2011 9:40 PM

    Bottomline, Gene Upshaw (may he rest in peace) was not about NFL players or ex. Players. Gene was all about himself and the players have the right guy in place to take on the owners. He was too cozy with Tagliube and the owners, and wanted to protect his own personal kingdom. Once the owners opted out of the CBA, this was going to end up in litigation. When in litigation you need an attorney and the NFLPA* has one of the best in the country to lead them. Look at his resume and he is not a “ambulance chaser” as he is referred to ONLY on this site, by people who probably do not even have a A.A. degree. Gene did a lot of good, but he was not the guy to lead this fight and neither was Troy Vicent who would have been a clone of Gene’s.

    The owners will only do a fair deal for both parties, once they get defeated in court and have no recourse or leverage such as players missing pay checks.

  7. eaglesfan290 says: May 6, 2011 9:56 PM

    The wife had him ……………err a friend sign his name to a will the day he died cutting both the sons out and she thought that was gona fly! LOL

    Oh boy that is a pretty crafty old bird.

  8. hobartbaker says: May 6, 2011 10:01 PM

    “Gene, the family decided to send a belated birthday card to your beloved son Eugene, can you sign it too? Here, here, here, and over here.”.

  9. tednancy says: May 6, 2011 10:10 PM

    duanethomas:

    your comment is so idiotic I think you might actually be the real Duane Thomas who dumb-assed his way out of a great career in the 70s with the Cowgirls.

    Do the world a favor and take your retard pills.

  10. hobartbaker says: May 6, 2011 10:20 PM

    There was some confusion when Gene’s widow showed up at the funeral and signed the register as Mrs. Norman Singer.

  11. geo1113 says: May 6, 2011 10:23 PM

    It is sickening that his wife and his friend would try to scew over his children.

  12. nflfan101 says: May 6, 2011 10:59 PM

    duanethomas says: May 6, 2011 9:40 PM

    Bottomline, Gene Upshaw (may he rest in peace) was not about NFL players or ex. Players. Gene was all about himself and the players have the right guy in place to take on the owners. He was too cozy with Tagliube and the owners, and wanted to protect his own personal kingdom. Once the owners opted out of the CBA, this was going to end up in litigation. When in litigation you need an attorney and the NFLPA* has one of the best in the country to lead them. Look at his resume and he is not a “ambulance chaser” as he is referred to ONLY on this site, by people who probably do not even have a A.A. degree. Gene did a lot of good, but he was not the guy to lead this fight and neither was Troy Vicent who would have been a clone of Gene’s.

    The owners will only do a fair deal for both parties, once they get defeated in court and have no recourse or leverage such as players missing pay checks.

    ——————

    It is interesting that you imply that Upshaw was not good for the players and that they have the right person now.

    Upshaw simply got the players a great deal as even players admit.

    D. Smith has created a mess that has stopped football and may well kill the NFL as we know it.

  13. hobartbaker says: May 6, 2011 11:05 PM

    Terri couldn’t make it to the funeral. She was busy consoling his good friend Norm Singer in Aruba.

  14. sneaky1632 says: May 7, 2011 6:56 AM

    I ain’t saying she’s a goldigger…….

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