Patterico's Pontifications


Elizabeth Edwards Cut John Out of Her Will; Enquirer Says He Has Proposed To Reille

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:19 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

I initially resisted sharing the story of Elizabeth Edwards shutting John out of her will mostly from a desire to respect some family privacy for Elizabeth.  And personal experience counseled me that it was possible to read too much into that.  A couple years ago one of my aunts passed on and she left nothing to her husband and everything to her son.  It was not a reflection on her husband, except in the sense that she believed her husband would be just fine financially without her money.  Yes, in the Edwards’ case you have to suspect the famous scandals were involved in the decision to cut John out, but it felt like invading the personal space of a dead woman.

But if you needed any evidence of how broken their relationship was toward the end, it’s hard to come up with better evidence than this (which is what gave both stories “critical mass” in my mind):

John Edwards has proposed to his mistress Rielle Hunter, and is buying a luxury $3.5 million beachfront home where they can live happily ever after with their love child, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

The disgraced presidential candidate popped the question at the same time he told Rielle that he’d be issuing a press statement finally confirming he fathered her daughter Frances Quinn, close sources told The ENQUIRER.

Edwards, 56, released that statement on Jan. 21, and just six days later a spokesperson for his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth confirmed the couple had legally separated after 32 years of marriage. Sources say they expect to be officially divorced within a year, paving the way for the ex-senator to make Rielle, 45, his wife.

If memory serves, North Carolina law requires a years’ separation before a divorce can be finalized.

“John dropped the proposal bomb on Rielle shortly before he issued his statement” that he was indeed Frances’ father, a close source divulged.

What do you want to bet that Edwards considers himself a “stand up guy” for marrying the mother of his child?  Scummy people always have a way of convincing themselves they are the good guys.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

41 Responses to “Elizabeth Edwards Cut John Out of Her Will; Enquirer Says He Has Proposed To Reille”

  1. The way Edwards earned his fortune told is he was a scummy guy. He spent his career convincing jurors that obstetricians were at fault in cerebral palsy, a theory that has been discredited by medical science.

    Mike K (568408)

  2. How can you expect to see moral behavior from a man who belongs to a party that has no morals?

    Edwards is a slug, and if it were me in charge of his law license, he would quickly lose it. He should never be allowed to practice law again. Is there any wonder that Americans have a low opinion of lawyers?

    retire05 (e0b7e7)

  3. Well parts of Edwards were standup guys. I don’t think that Ms. Hunter’s love child was conceived by artificial insemination.

    Mike Myers (0e06a9)

  4. good thing this guy was properly vetted by the media. What?? Never mind.

    Chris (6b0332)

  5. These jumped-up white trash just nauseate me.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  6. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about this irrelevant man. Hopefully he remains that way, though a lot of times I’ve thought someone’s political career is obviously over they wind up coming back stronger than ever.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  7. How do you cut spouse from will if divorce is not final? There’s that community property thing. Nonetheless, legal separation isn’t good enough if there’s no financial settlement. Cutting John from will doesn’t mean he gets nothing.

    community property (bcf6a9)

  8. community property – If there is nonmarital property, the community property rules do not apply to it.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  9. actually, community property per se probably doesn’t even apply (someone with experience of North Carolina please speak up) but if the law in NC is similar to Florida, he can claim a share of the estate regardless of what’s in the will, and whatever marital property was not yet split up between the two in preparation for the divorce would pass to him outside of the will as a tenant by the entireties or JTWROS.

    In fact, a good test of his scumbag-level will be whether he claims that marital share or lets it pass to his children uncontested.

    Actually, neither of these items seems very comment worthy to me. I would have been greatly surprised if the divorce had not prompted Elizabeth (and John, for that matter) to make a new will in which John was completely left out. Why would she include him, except perhaps as an executor or trustee for assets bequeathed to their children? And a man who knew he was divorcing his wife might well propose to his mistress before the legal papers were filed. I don’t see any scumbaggery there. (Of course, if he proposed in expectation not of divorce but of Elizabeth’s death, that would probably qualify him for a special level of scumbaggery–creepyscumbag.)

    My parents divorced when I was 14; my father immediately married the “other woman”, and it was a moderately successful marriage (as successful as any marriage might be between two people who could never learn to not spend whatever money was at hand). In fact, it was probably a better marriage than he had with my mother. Certainly a longer one–thirty five years with her versus twenty two with my mother. I never got to think of her as my stepmother, but eventually we reached a civil, even friendly, relationship. Nine days ago, the doctors told my father she had seven days to live (an aneurysm put her into a semi-vegetative state about three months ago, aggravated by cancer and kidney failure), so now I’m waiting for the call to go help him when the end does come….

    Back on topic–the fact that Edwards was a major political figure doesn’t make this anything more than the usual sort of family drama that plays out all the time in all sorts of households.

    kishnevi (38f6c3)

  10. As daleyrocks said, there’s property that doesn’t become community property. I don’t know the law there, but things like gifts (maybe), inheritance, etc.

    And kishnevi is right that this is about what Elizabeth’s wishes were. whether John contests that is a different matter.

    Elizabeth was not a stupid person by any stretch, and could have handled this extremely well if that was her wish.

    Sorry about your family hardships, Kishnevi.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  11. Dustin, thank you.

    And my mother is a whole ‘nother drama. There are many days when the best way for me to relax is to go to work.

    kishnevi (38f6c3)

  12. I don’t respect Edwards as a man or a politician, but I think it is quite a bit more “stand up guy”-ish to marry the mother of his child than not to. I think we can all agree that he would be an even bigger cad if he were out chasing new women, or if his presence in his child’s life were limited to checks in the mail.

    DWPittelli (2af301)

  13. kishnevi,

    I’m sorry about your family’s problems. Your comments are closed so I couldn’t post at your website, but I wanted to share this story regarding the teacher of little Alex Barton.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  14. DRJ–thanks.

    I closed comments because I was tired of emptying the spam filter, on a blog where I now rarely post anything (although these last two weeks there’s been a spurt). That and blocking search engines seemed have done the trick.

    kishnevi (38f6c3)

  15. Edwards is entitled to a minimum of one-third of her estate under North Carolina Law, no matter what her will says. He could claim more, that’s what “elective” means, but I’m not his lawyer.

    nk (db4a41)

  16. Community property, gifts, inheritance, prenups, etc., issues are relevant in divorce, not probate, BTW.

    nk (db4a41)

  17. Community property, gifts, inheritance, prenups, etc., issues are relevant in divorce, not probate, BTW.

    Comment by nk

    Didn’t realize that. Thanks for the tip.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  18. Mr Worthing, you really should have made this the Sockpuppet Friday thread; much fun could be had. :)

    The disappointed Dana (132cf8)

  19. When John said, “Oh, that’s just dandy,
    We really need to pin this on Andy.”
    Rielle said it would cost,
    For her to get lost,
    And John couldn’t keep his arm candy.

    The Limerick Avenger (132cf8)

  20. There was a young lady named Druck,
    Who said to John Edwards, “Let’s f___!”
    She asked him his sign,
    They had a good time,
    Till John Edwards just ran out of luck.

    The Limerick Avenger (132cf8)

  21. The girl had cam’ra,
    And John just could not resist;
    He is up the creek!

    The Haiku Avenger (132cf8)

  22. She said, “John a problem’s cropped up;
    I’m afraid that I’ve gotten knocked up.”
    “Oh, Hell, this is bad,
    And now I’m a dad,
    Should have had my vas deferens blocked up!

    The Limerick Avenger (132cf8)

  23. When Elizabeth first asked about Druck,
    “Like Monica, did she just suck?”
    “Oh, I wish that she did,
    But now there’s a kid,
    And I am just so out of luck!”

    The Limerick Avenger (132cf8)

  24. It’s a nice twist that he was the source of whatever estate she had… and now he doesn’t get it back.

    That and the rest of the snark aside, it is not uncommon for someone to not leave anything to their spouse, especially in cases where the survivor has plenty of income/wealth and whose death would likely trigger a big estate tax. By doing what she did, she got more money into her kids’ hands than if it had gone to them via him dying at a later date.

    steve (369bc6)

  25. If John had learned from Prez Billy
    About how to play with his filly,
    No worries today,
    A few bucks, but hey!
    Just stuff on a dress that was frilly.

    The Limerick Avenger (132cf8)

  26. Steve wrote:

    By doing what she did, she got more money into her kids’ hands than if it had gone to them via him dying at a later date.

    Doing what she did? You mean: having the good sense to die in 2010 instead of 2011?

    The snarky Dana (132cf8)

  27. Doing what she did? You mean: having the good sense to die in 2010 instead of 2011?

    No, I mean what I was referring to: leaving money directly to the kids versus leaving it to them via the surviving spouse.

    steve (369bc6)

  28. Dana

    actually that was a point someone raised. maybe she intentionally hastened her death, for tax reasons, given that the death tax as about to potentially soar.

    which is messed up, if true.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  29. Can you imagine if he had been a Republican VP candidate?

    JD (1ee2fa)

  30. JD

    if he had been a republican, he would have been so ashamed he would have quit. that is an important difference between the dems and the republicans. they are capable of shame.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  31. “That and the rest of the snark aside, it is not uncommon for someone to not leave anything to their spouse”

    steve – She could have provided that her interest in any community property go to the kids or some kind of trust arrangement for the benefit of the kids. Definitely not an uncommon arrangement.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  32. Likely that’s what happened, daleyrocks, and it was with John’s full cooperation.

    It’s a very common arrangement to split the marital estate into two trusts with a “pourover” provision in each spouse’s will. That way the estate tax bracket is made smaller or avoided altogether.

    Even before the Bush tax cuts, you could leave all you wanted to your spouse. The IRS would wait until it went to the children and then tax it to the max. Creating trusts was, and still is, a way to halve or eliminate the tax liability.

    nk (db4a41)

  33. nk

    i won’t even pretend to know what the law says on this subject. you may be right.

    [this is in response to your comment upthread that john was entitled to 1/3 of her stuff.]

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  34. As good a link as I could find, Aaron. North Carolina’s Elective Spousal Share Law.

    But I doubt that these two people did not mutually agree on estate planning to minimize their tax liability. And other liabilities. For example, there’s a kind of irrevocable trust that in addition to tax liability also protects the inheritance from third party claims for the next generation.

    nk (db4a41)

  35. nk

    ah, dude, i was happy to take your word on it. But thanks.

    i am amused that the statute actually refers to death taxes.

    But here’s my question, and your word is sufficient to me as an answer. does it matter that they were separated, with the obvious intent that they get a divorce?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  36. “Creating trusts was, and still is, a way to halve or eliminate the tax liability.”

    nk – Exactly. Even though many of these trusts are no longer affected by limits in current tax laws they remain in place. My mother predeceased my father, who passed over the holidays. I’m attempting to deal with a relatively small amount of net assets partly owned by a trust and partly owned by his estate. The divided ownership makes it a royal PITA.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  37. does it matter that they were separated, with the obvious intent that they get a divorce?

    Only if the separation agreement expressly stated that they had divided the marital estate and each waived any claims.

    nk (db4a41)

  38. I’m dealing with my mother’s estate, too.

    You should not need to probate the trust. Once you have probated the estate not in trust, the adminstrator can add it to the trust, if that’s what you want and the trust allows it, or the trustee can deed to the heirs.

    I really don’t know your personal situation, but perpetuating a trust (whether revocable or irrevocable) is not a bad idea. Think about it, if you want to protect the assets for your heirs.

    Caveat: Illinois has a twenty year rule for trusts, so you will need a lawyer to advise you on how to extend it or renew it.

    nk (db4a41)

  39. nk – The trust is owned by three sibs and governed by NY law. Primary assets are mortgaged real estate in two states. One property must be sold. The other property is half the primary residence of one of my sibs, who will need to pay down the existing debt and buy out the remaining to sibs to stay in the house. We are still putting together the puzzle, including finding six figures of credit card debt. He had a lot of fun with his girlfriend the past few years, for which we are glad.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  40. #24 steve: John wasn’t the source of all of Elizabeth’s estate. She earned royalties from the books she wrote.

    Joshua (9ede0e)

  41. I don’t much like John Edwards, but maye he got tired of being the provider/screw-up at home, and succumbed to the dubious charms of a blonde he met in a bar. I think Elizabeth Edwards got tired ofplaying the helpmeet.

    Belindie (d341d5)

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