Barry White died in July 2003, at the age of 58; he left behind 2 ex- wives, a long-term partner and 9 children. Although his estate was estimated to be worth $20 Million Barry White had not updated his Will for many years.
Although Barry and his second wife Glodean had been separated for many years, they had not divorced, therefore Glodean inherited his estate. His partner Katherine Denton received nothing.
Katherine took court action against Glodean, for a share of the estate. As she had always been told by Barry that that she would have enough money to live off for the rest of her life and could continue to live in their house in Los Angeles and she had given birth to a daughter Brianna four weeks before Barry died.
The Court ordered that Brianna undergo a DNA test to verify her paternity. The test proved that Barry did not father her daughter. Glodean allowed Katherine to live in the couple’s home but she received little else from the estate.
Barry’s eldest daughter Denise discovered that he was her father eight years after the Will was written. When she told Glodean that she planned to secure her rights as an omitted child, she was told that she would receive her share of the estate just like the other beneficiaries.
Over a period of 10 years Denise reportedly received irregular payments from the White Family Trust in various amounts valued at more than $350,000. Then she was suddenly cut off.
Similarly Barry’s son Daryl commenced action against Glodean to view Barry’s Will and have the estate properly audited claiming that Glodean misled him by claiming that he should not worry about asserting his rights to the estate and promised to distribute his share of the estate on a monthly basis. After 10 years payments became sporadic and then ceased.
White was overweight for most of his adult life and suffered from related health problems. He had been admitted to hospital as a result of high blood pressure, and cancelled tour dates owing to ill health. In September 2002, he was hospitalized with kidney failure attributed to chronic diabetes and high blood pressure. While undergoing dialysis and awaiting a kidney transplant in May 2003, he suffered a severe stroke, which forced him to retire from public life.
It is interesting that Barry did not update his will even though he suffered from such bad health. However it is an illustration of the need to update your Will when your circumstances change. If you don’t have a Will you should prepare one. Your Will directs how you wish your estate will be distributed at the time it was created. This may not reflect your wishes several years later. A will also helps protect your loved ones from disputes and litigation arising following your death.