One of the reasons Geraldine Edwards cited was that she had entered the field of law via the practice of Wills and Estates and Probate and she was aware of how complicated circumstances could become. She also knew that proceedings after Probate could become acrimonious, especially with an estate the size of Robert Palmers. That became a self-fulfilling prophecy when Mary Ambrose launched her lawsuit against the Estate. Certain parties that were allegedly friends with Robert Palmer joined Ambrose in her attack on the Estate and Robert Palmer's family. However, when it was time for those same individuals to bear sworn testimony in a court of law, they were loath to do so for fear of Perjury and Conspiracy charges being leveled against them over a Testamentary Trust that was never physically produced for the court. Ambrose said the document originally existed then "disappeared." In the end, nobody would testify on Mary Ambrose's behalf. Later, it became known that Mary Ambrose promised these individuals part of the Estate's proceeds in exchange for their backing and testimony per their own statements. One couple came forward to the court to say that Mary Ambrose and certain friends of hers offered them financial recompensense in exchange for testifying in court that they had witnessed the signing of the alleged Testamentary Trust. The refused to do so. Geraldine Edwards, in the course of her career had seen people behave unethically and malignantly in an attempt to acquire an estate that was not left to them by the Decedent. The firm's she worked for routinely handled estates in excess of $100,000. She did not want to be part of an action that could lead to years of infighting and animosity, as she had seen firsthand the results of such negative actions. In 1987, Robert Palmer had prepared his Last Will and Testament. At the time he named his second wife, Susan Eileen Thatcher, as the Executrix of the Estate in a legal and binding manner. Over the years, Robert Palmer made several changes to the Will. In 2000, the year after his divorce from Susan Eileen Thatcher, she advised Robert Palmer that she no longer wished to be the Executrix of his Estate, and he then legally appointed James Palmer as the Executor of his Estate. In July of 2003, Robert Palmer and Geraldine Edwards arrived in Paris, France, where Robert Palmer's Estate attorney was located, and changed his Will to reflect that his children and UNICEF would be the main beneficiaries of his Estate, with a Testamentary Trust created bequeathing his Music Catalogue and it's future earnings to his children and his parents. James Palmer was appointed the Trustee of the Trust. Robert Palmer did ask Geraldine Edwards to act as the Executrix of his Estate due to her business credentials and her qualifications, she has a Masters Degree in Paralegal Sciences and is an MBA. She refused the attempted appointment. She thought it best for James Palmer to remain the Executor, even refusing to be named co-Executrix. When the Will entered Probate, Mary Ambrose attempted to assert a claim that she was the Executrix of the Estate , citing an illusory meeting where Robert Palmer "crossed-out" Susan Eileen Thatcher's name and wrote her name above it as Executrix. Robert Palmer's Estate Attorney asserted that no such meeting took place. The other reason that Geraldine Edwards declined to be named in Robert Palmer's Will was that he had been more than generous with her in his lifetime. He had purchased her a condominium valued at over $750,000 in 1996. Robert Palmer was the sole financial backer in the start-up of her two companies established in the 90's in San Diego, California. In 2002, he signed over a one million dollar property to her located in Del Mar, California. And in 2003, he awarded her with a bank account in the amount of $250,000. Geraldine Edwards thought that his family and the charity should be bequeathed the remainder of his Estate.
I am a mutual friend with some individuals who were close with the late Robert Palmer and Geraldine Edwards, although I never personally met Robert Palmer or Geraldine Edwards.
According to these people, who were Palmer insiders, Geraldine Edwards made it very clear to Robert Palmer that she did not want to be included in his will. When Robert Palmer was diagnosed with certain health problems, which included hypertension and mitral valve prolapse, he decided that it was necessary to attend to his will and make any changes that were outstanding, which he was apparently planning on doing anyway in the near future, before he died. Although he had a will in place he was anxious to make alterations to it.
In July of 2003, Robert Palmer and Geraldine Edwards flew to Paris, France, where Robert Palmer's estate counsel was located, and Robert Palmer dictated his final will and testamentary trust at that time. He wanted to include Geraldine Edwards in his will, but she forbade him from doing so as she had in the past. She was adamant that the will should be written in a way that Robert Palmer's family would inherit. She thought that was the right and decent thing to do. She did approve of Robert Palmer leaving part of his estate to charities as well.
By the time of the writing of the will, Geraldine Edwards was a successful businesswoman, owning two small but profitable businesses in Southern California. She was also a well-paid legal professional, having worked for the State Attorney General's Office by then for several years and in the field of law for well over twenty years. It was her concern that Robert Palmer's family should be provided for, first and foremost. And as mentioned earlier, a healthy amount of the estate was left to charities.
It was upsetting when the will was challenged by Mary Ambrose in 2004 after Robert Palmer's death, but in the end the court respected the will as written by Robert Palmer in July of 2003. I imagine when any large estate goes into probate that any number of people will challenge the estate in the hopes of inheriting even if they were not mentioned in the will or having not inherited as much as they would have liked. Unfortunatley, a lot of people are greedy and unethical where it comes to substantial amounts of money.
In the case of Robert Palmer's estate, things worked out as he had wished in the end.
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