Illinois residents who keep up with major global business news are likely familiar with now-deceased Max Hopper, who was an American IT manager as well as a top executive for several other companies, including American Airlines and Bank of America. Following his death, his widow, Jo Hopper, became entangled in a contentious probate litigation situation with the nation’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co. She publicly stated that she believes the bank was trying to rob her of assets to which she was entitled.
Hopper’s widow also accused JPMorgan Chase & Co. of trying to drive a wedge between her and her stepchildren. She and her husband reportedly had joint ownership in approximately $19 million in assets. Shockingly, the senior Hopper had passed away unexpectedly and left no final will and testament. In fact, he had drafted at least four wills at various times but never signed a single one.
This created a financial limbo where a substantial amount of assets lingered. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was hired to administer the estate, but Hopper’s widow said instead of helping, they made matters worse. Following multiple lawsuits filed by all interested parties against one another, the situation led to a jury trial.
A JPMorgan Chase & Company spokesperson said the family simply refused to cooperate and compromise with each other; instead, they turned against the bank with accusations of fraud and possible felony crimes. With a decision that is quite possibly one of the largest court awards in Texas history, the jury voted in favor of the family to the tune of $8 billion against the bank. Most Illinois residents do not have estates worth $20 million; however, even estates of modest means sometimes lead to probate litigation. Therefore, it’s best to arm oneself with experienced representation if one hopes to gain an upper hand in court.
Source: dmagazine.com, “The Widow, the Bank, and the $8 Billion Verdict“, Joseph Guinto, Accessed on Jan. 22, 2018