Venable partner Alex M. Weingarten discussed the ongoing inheritance suit involving the family of the late plastic surgeon and burn treatment pioneer Richard Grossman with Thousand Oaks Acorn and Ventura County Star. Grossman, founder of the Grossman Burn Center, passed away last year leaving everything to Elizabeth Grossman, his fourth wife. Grossman's children claim she manipulated him into amending his will excluding them against their father's wishes. The fight over Grossman's multi-million dollar estate is expected to go to trial later this year.
Speaking with Thousand Oaks Acorn in a February 19, 2015 article, Weingarten, who represents Richard Grossman's children, said his wife was aware of his deteriorating mental condition when he changed his will. "Elizabeth Grossman took advantage of Richard's diminished mental capacity," said Weingarten. "She essentially took all of his money while he was alive." At stake in the dispute is the exact value of Grossman's estate. "The problem is that Elizabeth is hiding that information from us," said Weingarten. "They filed a final state tax return that they will not provide us…It's tens of millions of dollars, but they're not giving us the information we need to get the exact amount." Also at issue is Grossman's main asset, Brookfield Farms, which Grossman's children want to keep from being sold. "Richard was extremely proud of the farm," Weingarten added. "It was the representation, the embodiment of his whole life's work. And it was something that he very clearly wanted to stay in his family. He wanted his grandchildren growing up playing on the farm. This is the legacy he was leaving his natural heirs."
In a February 16 Ventura County Star article, Weingarten said Elizabeth hired an estate-planning attorney "for purposes of altering Richard's estate plan," despite a signed prenuptial keeping their finances separate. He also said the family plans to seek punitive damages adding, "They are still grieving the loss of their father and grandfather and still have to deal with a fight over his legacy."