A longstanding Atlanta area probate court battle has finally been resolved by the Georgia Supreme Court. We have discussed the long standing will contests involving Anne Melican in previous posts. Melican was the mistress of multi-millionaire Harvey Strother, who made his fortune through several Atlanta-area car dealerships. Strother's estate was estimated to be worth approximately $37 million when he died.
Strother executed a will in 1988 that left the bulk of his estate to his wife Betty, their children and grandchildren. Strother subsequently executed several amendments, called codicils, to the will. Each codicil gave an increasing amount to Melican, his long-term mistress. A codicil is a document that amends a will and can be executed any time before a person dies. Amendments made to a will near the time of an elderly person's death are often challenged in court by relatives who claim that the deceased person had a diminished state of mind or was improperly influenced.
The first amendment to Strother's will provided that Melican would receive a monthly stipend upon his death that was almost $8,000. The second amendment provided that Melican was to inherit a condominium in Florida's exclusive Marco Island resort area. The final codicil provided that Melican would receive a property in Cape Cod that they shared and a Florida boat slip.
The fact that Melican and Strother shared a property is significant according to Melican's attorney. The attorney said that the strength of the 10-year relationship makes it inappropriate to characterize Melican as a "mistress" because the term implies sneaking around.
"They had a long-term relationship where he basically lived with her half the year while he was in Florida. The family knew about it," Melican's attorney said.
In our next post we will look at the decision in this long standing probate battle and discuss the procedural history of this case.
Source: Cherokee Tribune, "Court: Condo cash goes to millionaire's mistress," Jon Gillooly, 6/1/11