Why Naomi Judd left her daughters Ashley and Wynonna by will: lawyers

Naomi Judd’s decision to name her husband Larry Strickland as executor is not uncommon, but can be seen as an insult to the daughters, Wynonna and Ashley Judd, a legal expert exclusively tells Page Six.

“It is common to appoint the spouse as the executor. But leaving her daughters out seems pointed, like a deliberate act on Naomi’s part,” attorney Holly Davis exclusively told Page Six.

Naomi – who died by suicide on April 30 – chose to name her 33-year-old husband as executor of his estate, according to court documents obtained by Page Six on Monday.

Criminal defense attorney Jason Goldman told Page Six the county superstar was “probably advised” to choose his wife over his two daughters because it would be “cleaner and less controversial.”

“Despite the opposite intent, wills generally become notoriously difficult to interpret when they are too specific,” Goldman says. “When you factor in the existence of many children, a longer divided will is inevitably a recipe for misinterpretation and disaster.”

In the will, the “Love Can Build a Bridge” singer asks her husband to have “full authority and discretion” over any property that is an asset to his estate “without the approval of a court” or the permission of any beneficiary of the estate.

It’s unclear whether Wynonna, 58, or Ashley, 54, are beneficiaries of any of their mother’s assets – since their names weren’t mentioned in the will at all.

However, Goldman clarifies that this neither confirms nor denies whether the two have trusts that were created by their mother before her death.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MAY 15: Wynonna Judd, Ashley Judd and Larry Strickland attending CMT and Sandbox Live's
Wynonna and Ashley Judd, seen here with Larry Strickland, were likely left out to avoid misinterpretation, an expert says.
Getty Images for CMT

“The will itself did not mention Naomi’s enduring assets, which may have already passed to the children through title transfers,” the New York-based attorney, who has not personally worked on Naomi’s will.

Regarding any inheritance of the ‘River of Time’ author’s estimated $25 million fortune, Goldman says Strickland, 76, can “put together a legacy consistent with what he thinks Naomi would have wanted for the children” as an executor.

Naomi Judd in front of a step-and-repeat.
Naomi Judd has died aged 76 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Getty Images

Davis also notes that it’s “possible” that Naomi already took care of her daughters with their own trusts, or perhaps prior gifts before she died, but their exclusion from the will “is remarkable.”

“Naomi Judd struggled with mental health issues and depression which ultimately led to her suicide – we all know that,” concludes the founding partner of Kirker Davis LLP. “But not knowing if there is tension between his wife and the daughters, if there is any problem or tension between the husband and the daughters, we will know if there will be a will contest via lawyers specializing in estates in the coming days.”

Naomi Judd, Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd on a red carpet.
Ashley and Wynonna Judd announced the death of their mother on April 30.

The lawyer who prepared Naomi’s will did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the “Grandpa” singer’s state of mind during the signing of her will on Nov. 20, 2017. Her publicist also declined. to comment.

Naomi – who battled depression all her life and publicly – died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Both Wynonna and Ashley have commented on the loss of their mother to mental illness, but have yet to speak about the conversation surrounding the late singer’s will.

“If the girls believe that Naomi was unduly influenced in her final months or years by her spouse such that they claim he influenced the outcome of her will fraudulently, this could result in a claim on behalf of girls,” Davis said. said.

Representatives for Wynonna and Ashley did not return Page Six’s request for comment.

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