The four daughters of industrialist Julio Muñoz Ramonet have been locked in a court battle with the Spanish city of Barcelona for over two decades over the validity of their father's. Why? His most recent, unknown will left all the property to the city. This extensive litigation process highlights why it is so important to hire and retain an estate planning attorney that you trust to help you provide for your loved ones and ensure your assets are distributed as you wish.
Why are probate attorneys important?
There have been two significant points of tension regarding Ramonet's will that have been influential in this long standing court case. The first was whether or not the will was valid to begin with, since it was handed to a notary in Switzerland and not discovered until several years following his passing. Not only that, but the new will gave his primary property to the city of Barcelona. The second point of tension arose when the city claimed that Ramonet's daughters had removed valuable pieces of art from the Barcelona property prior to handing over the keys. Without the input of a probate attorney, the wishes of Ramonet have been unclear and questionable.
In 2012, the Spanish Supreme Court decided that the will was not only valid, but indeed gifted Barcelona Ramonet's mansion and all of what was inside of it. Upon inspection, it was determined that around 658 pieces of art that were once on the property were no longer there. This led to the city accusing Ramonet's daughters of stealing artwork that they believe legally belongs them.
According to the daughters, Ramonet gifted numerous art pieces to others before he passed, and many of the works in their personal collections come from other family members and additional business interests of Ramonet's. They cite a 1998 inventory to prove that no artwork was removed from their father's collection.
Don't Take it Lightly—Hire a Legal Professional
With more than 20 years of litigation wasted over this estate, the story of Ramonet and his daughters show the necessity of making sure that an estate plan is legally binding and clear. It also goes to show how nasty and bitter disputes over property can become. Without Ramonet to determine who gets what, Barcelona and his family appear to be locked in this legal battle for some years to come.
This is why estate planning attorneys are so important. When you are unsure what a will says, when the will must be disputed, or how to craft a clear one, you need the legal counsel of P. Arnsen Blakely.