Larry King’s wife, son on opposite sides in court battle over late talk-show host’s handwritten will
Control of Larry King‘s estate is pitting his family members against each other in court.
Shawn King, wife of the late, legendary talk-show host, sought to block efforts by his son, Larry King Jr., to administer an estate valued at $2 million, according to documents filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
She says Larry King, her husband of 22 years, nominated her to be executor of his estate in a 2015 will and she disputes an October 2019 handwritten will that the younger King contends takes precedence.
USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for both parties.
In the barely legible handwritten will, King, who died at 87 on Jan. 23, splits his estate equally between his five children. Shawn King, who is not named in that will, has petitioned to be appointed executor.
The handwritten will, signed by Larry King and witnessed by two others and included in Larry King Jr.’s Feb. 10 filing, says: “This is my Last Will & Testament. It should replace all previous writings(.) In the event of my death, any day after the above date I want 100% of my funds to be divided equally among my children Andy, Chaia, Lary Jr, Chance & Cannon. Larry King” (Andy and Chaia both died in 2020.)
Chance and Cannon are King’s two children with Shawn King.
King’s widow also contends in her objection that Larry King Jr. has a conflict of interest because he is indebted to the estate for $266,261 paid to him by his father from a “secret account” that Shawn King says she only learned of recently.
In his petition, Larry King Jr. says he has priority over Shawn King, because she and his father were involved in a divorce proceeding and they did not live together at the time of his death.
Shawn King acknowledges a divorce proceeding had been pending since August 2019, but her objection states that, “Larry was not pushing the divorce and was generally nonresponsive and refused to participate in the divorce proceeding. He gave no indication that he actually wanted to pursue divorce (other than the initial filing of the Petition for Dissolution). After the (divorce) filing, the parties had gone to counseling, were still speaking, and reconciliation remained possible until Larry’s health conditions made that impractical.”
Her objection also argues she had a much closer relationship with the longtime CNN talk host and his career and businesses, putting her in a better position to oversee the estate because she has “the most knowledge of Larry’s businesses, assets and wishes.”
In contrast, Shawn King’s filing says her husband didn’t know of Larry King Jr. until the son, who court documents note lives in Florida, was well into his thirties. He “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.”
Larry King Jr., 59, is King’s oldest child, from his marriage to Annette Kaye.
In another part of her objection, Shawn King says the handwritten will would violate two post-nuptial agreements she and her husband made that that limited his ability to make “testamentary gifts” to his children.
She also questions her husband’s capacity to change his will in 2019.
“During the last few years of his life, Larry was highly susceptible to outside influences and at the time he purportedly executed the (handwritten will) was of questionable mental capacity, having recently suffered a stroke and about to undergo a medical procedure (and possibly already under the influence of pre-operative medication),” the court papers say.
Court hearings have been set for Feb. 24 and March 25.
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