Tanner Hunt, the son of billionaire Ray Hunt, passed away with a large trust fund and two minor daughters. When minors who can't own property until they reach the age of majority receive an inheritance, it is normal for a court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem for them. This is an attorney who is supposed to represent what is in the best interests of the minors.
In the Hunt case, current Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was appointed as the Guardian ad Litem for the minor daughters. Questions are being asked about Paxton's role in participating in negotiations that would have potentially bought the daughters out of any interest in the Hunt trust for a substantially lower amount than they would have otherwise been entitled to.
It has also been reported that Paxton had improper contact with the opposition attorney and that the judge who appointed Paxton to the case recused himself from it because of contact with that same attorney. The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog reports in "Texas Attorney General Played Dubious Role In Hunt Estate Battle" that no investigation is being conducted into this matter.
This case highlights the importance of naming a guardian for any minor children you have in your will. If you do not do it, then a judge will appoint someone. Often the court's appointment will be a local attorney, who may or may not have your children's best interests in mind.
A judge does not have to appoint the guardian you designate, but making your wishes known will carry great weight. Most judges will only appoint someone else if it is obvious that the parents' choice was completely inappropriate.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you get this essential appointment right. You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning. However, proper estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project. Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (August 25, 2015) "Texas Attorney General Played Dubious Role In Hunt Estate Battle."