Even a Millionaire Attorney Has Estate Planning Problems

Famous Houston trial lawyer John O’Quinn’s estate is nearly at the end of its massive litigation battle, reported the Houston Chronicle. O’Quinn died in 2009 in a car accident. In his will he left his entire estate to the John O’Quinn Foundation.

However, his live-in girlfriend was not particularly pleased with his decision to donate his entire fortune to the foundation rather than to her. Darla Lexington claimed she was O’Quinn’s common law wife and claimed that she was entitled to more than just the proceeds of the life insurance policy for which she was the sole beneficiary. As such, she filed a lawsuit against the estate.

This week, Lexington and the executor of the O’Quinn estate reached a confidential settlement agreement. Sources close to the case indicate that the probate judge may have placed a significant limit on the amount of money Lexington was to receive. Sources reveal that the judge, Mike Wood, refused to allow O’Quinn’s income from his legal fees and other revenue to be declared community property. What is certain is that Lexington received some cars from O’Quinn’s antique car collection. She also received considerable amount of money that would allow her to live a comfortable lifestyle. Lexington thus appears to not need to worry about being turned out on the street anytime soon.

Gerald Treece, the executor of the estate, has retained Dale Jefferson to settle the estate. Jefferson thinks that the entire estate should be resolved by the end of 2012. Once the estate has been settled, it is likely that the John O’Quinn Foundation will receive so much money that it will be named as one of Houston’s top 10 philanthropic organizations. When O’Quinn passed, the Foundation used up its cash reserves to make its contributions. The president of the foundation, Rob Wilson III, is excited because once the estate is settled, the foundation’s cash reserves will be replenished and it can continue its thriving philanthropic giving.

There is still much work to be done. O’Quinn’s law firm is in the midst of winding itself up. Some 175 cars remain in his vintage automotive collection that still need to be sold. Once those things are addressed, the estate can be completely settled.

The estate planning attorneys at Martinson & Beason will provide you with the highest level representation and work tirelessly to ensure that your estate is not left in a similar mess as Mr. O’Quinn’s. Please do not hesitate to contact Martinson & Beason if you find yourself need the assistance of a Huntsville probate lawyer.

Source: “John O’Quinn’s Estate finally moves closer to resolution,” by Mike Tolson, published at Chron.com.