Less than a month after the death of baseball legend Ernie Banks, his family is locked in a battle with a former caretaker over Mr Banks’ estate, all of which was left to the caretaker.
The family says the caretaker, Regina Rica, coerced Mr Banks into signing a new will three months before he died, CNN reported. Authorities said dementia was a significant factor in Mr Banks’ death from a heart attack on 23 January. Ms Rice has denied any wrongdoing.
“Our family thought that Ms Rice was helping our father and watching over him while he was in Chicago,” son Joey Banks said in a statement through the family attorney. “However, we have learned that she had him sign a power of attorney, a health care directive and a will giving everything to Ms Rice.”
Another son, Jerry Banks, said Ms Rice made it difficult for the family to speak directly to his father, often acting as an intermediary. The family attorney said the family did not know about the new will until after Mr Banks died, adding that they plan to fight for the estate.
“Ernie was an intricate part of my life for over 12years,” Ms Rice said in a statement. “Ernie trusted me to carry out his wishes, some during his lifetime and others after his life. He made me promise to adhere to his wishes and I am determined to do just that.”
Mr Banks, who was 83 when he died, is remembered as one of the best baseball players who ever lived. He began playing in the Negro Leagues before making it to the highest level with the Chicago Cubs, often referred to by his nickname “Mr Cub.”
In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded Mr Banks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US.
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