Larry King’s widow filed a petition in Los Angeles County probate court Tuesday questioning the validity of a handwritten will that would cut her out of her late husband’s estate in favor of his children.
Lawyers for Shawn King, 61, argued that when the legendary broadcaster signed the will in October 2019, just two months after he filed for divorce, he had recently suffered a stroke, leaving him with “diminished mental capacity,” and susceptible to “outside influences,” Variety reports.
The disputed will was submitted by Larry King Jr., 59, in a February 10 filing and states that King, who died last month at age 87, wanted “100% of my funds to be divided equally among my children.”
King has three surviving children. Two others—Andy and Chaia—died within weeks of each other last summer.
Shawn says that Larry King broke things off with Larry Jr.’s mother before he was born and that the elder King had not known of his son’s existence until Larry Jr. was well into his 30s. She claims in court documents that the new will “has no legal effect whatsoever” because it violates one she signed in 2015 naming her executor of the estate and the sole trustee of the King Family Trust, which is apparently where most of her husband’s assets can be found.
Larry Jr. counters that Shawn and his father were no longer together when he died, and were living in separate homes after selling their house. He asked to be made a special administrator of the estate and that the court appoint new officers to run Larry King Enterprises and LK Productions because bills had been left unpaid, including some owed to King’s assistant and medical aids. Larry Jr. also claims that his father’s likeness is being used online without permission and that it will continue unless someone steps in and tends to business.
In her filing, Shawn King responds, “Petitioner has never been involved in Larry’s career or business, and it would be highly inappropriate to place him in a position of representing Larry’s estate.”
She further claims that Larry Jr. had been one of the “outside influences” over King as his faculties declined, allegedly receiving more than $260,000 from a “secret account” of King’s in what she says are improper gifts of community property, which she may seek to recoup in the future.
Shawn and her attorneys also argue that the businesses in question are loan-out companies that have had no business to conduct since King passed, and that they’re part of the estate she controls.
As to Larry Jr.’s contention that the couple—who married in 1997—had split before Larry King died, Shawn’s lawyers say their divorce had not been finalized, adding, “After the filing, the parties had gone to counseling, were still speaking, and reconciliation remained possible until Larry’s health conditions made that impractical.”
Meanwhile, the entire King estate is reportedly worth only $2 million. Asked why she’s willing to fight for what, at most, would end up being around $300,000, Shawn recently told the New York Post, “It’s the principle.”
A hearing is scheduled for February 24.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.