Trusts & Estates

Great Expectations: Law Clan in 14-Year Estate Battle

Corrected: When Walter L. Green died in 1993, the prominent Prince George’s County jurist, lawyer and businessman left an estate variously estimated as worth between $17 million and $30 million, as well as a detailed 10-page will explaining how to divide it. The basic plan, however, wasn’t particularly complex: after relatively minimal bequests to others, the bulk of his estate should be divided three ways, between his widow and two children from a previous marriage.

His widow, Helen G. Nassif, now 85, promptly filed a petition to collect her portion, which she says she intends to donate to charity. But, 14 years later, the situation is much the same, reports the Washington Post.

Those involved say they got along until the estate battle over their great expectations began. But now there seems neither to be any compromise nor any end to the case in sight. The problem, according to Nassif, is that the two other beneficiaries aren’t evaluating the estate fairly. She rejected as “absurd” a few years ago a $3.2 million settlement offer.

She is former stenographic law clerk who met her husband at a D.C. Bar Association dinner in the early 1960s and married him a few years later. One of her husband’s two children, Carlton Green, is a lawyer, as is his son, Walter W. Green, who is representing Carlton Green in the estate case.

Her husband, Nassif says, would have been appalled at the current situation: “He was never confrontational or controversial. He’d always compromise.” Asked for his view of what his father would have said, Carlton Green said: “He’s not around to say anything. Unfortunately, the problems are visited on the son.”

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