Why Naomi Judd left her daughters Ashley, Winona out of will: Lawyers

Why Naomi Judd left her daughters Ashley, Winona out of will: Lawyers

Naomi Judd’s decision to name husband Larry Strickland as an executor of her will is not uncommon, but may be seen as a disdain for girls, say Winona and Ashley Judd, a legal expert exclusively for Page Six.

“It is common for a husband to be called an executor. But leaving her two daughters seems obvious, like a purposeful act on Naomi’s part,” attorney Holly Davis told Page Six exclusively.

Naomi – who died by suicide on April 30 – chose to name her husband of 33 years as the executor of her estate, according to court documents obtained by Page Six on Monday.

Criminal defense attorney Jason Goldman told Page Six that the county star would “likely have been advised” to choose her husband over her two daughters because that would be “cleaner and less controversial.”

“Although there is an opposite intent, it usually becomes difficult to interpret probate when they are overly specific,” Goldman says. “When you consider having so many children, a long and divided will is inevitably a recipe for misinterpretation and disaster.”

In the will, the “Love Can Build a Bridge” singer requires that her husband have “full power and discretion” over any property that is an asset to her property “without the approval of any court” or the permission of any beneficiary of the estate.

It’s not clear whether Wynonna, 58, or Ashley, 54, are beneficiaries of any of their mother’s assets – as their names are not mentioned in the will at all.

However, Goldman clarifies that this neither confirms nor denies whether the two had relationships of trust established by their mother prior to her death.

NASHVILLE, TN - May 15: Winona Judd, Ashley Judd, and Larry Strickland attend CMT and Sandbox Live
An expert says Winona and Ashley Judd, who appear here with Larry Strickland, have been left out of the will to avoid any misinterpretation.
Getty Images for CMT

The New York-based attorney, who did not work on Naomi’s will personally, tells us that “the will itself did not mention Naomi’s difficult origins, which may have already been given to the children through the transfer of property.”

Regarding any inheritance from the “River of Time” author’s estimated $25 million fortune, Goldman says Strickland, 76, could “create an inheritance in keeping with what he believed Naomi would have wanted for the children” as an executor.

Naomi Judd stands by step and repeat.
Naomi Judd died at the age of 76 from a gunshot wound.
Getty Images

Davis also notes that it is “possible” that Naomi may have already taken care of her daughters through their trust, or perhaps past gifts prior to their departure, but that their exclusion from the will is “noteworthy.”

Kirker co-founder Davis LLP concluded: “Naomi Judd struggled with her mental health and depression, which eventually led to her suicide — up to that point, we know.” “But with not knowing if there is tension between her husband and her daughters, if there is a quarrel or tension between the husband and daughters, we will find out if there will be a will competition via probate attorneys in the coming days.”

Naomi Judd, Ashley Judd and Winona Judd on the red carpet.
Ashley and Winona Judd announced their mother’s death on April 30.

The attorney who prepared Naomi’s will did not respond to repeated requests for comment on further insight into the “grandfather” singer’s mentality when signing her will on November 20, 2017. Her publicist also declined to comment.

Naomi, who suffered from a general struggle with depression, died of a gunshot wound.

Wynonna and Ashley have both commented on the loss of their mother to mental illness, but they haven’t yet spoken about the conversation surrounding the late singer’s will.

“If the girls believe that Naomi has been unduly influenced in recent months or years by her husband, that they claim to have fraudulently affected the outcome of her will, this could lead to a claim on behalf of the girls,” Davis says.

Wynonna and Ashley’s representatives did not respond to Page Six’s request for comment.

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