Legendary TV mogul Reg Grundy’s estranged daughter has stepped up her legal battle against his second wife by claiming in court he was suffering from Alzheimer’s when he chose to cut her out of his will, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Kim Robin Grundy, 61, more commonly known as Viola La Valette, is challenging her father’s widow Joy Chambers-Grundy for a share in his $900 million estate – despite being estranged from him for 22 years.
The television tycoon, responsible for shows like Neighbours, Perfect Match, Sale of the Century and Wheel of Fortune, died in May 2016 at the age of 92 – leaving the majority of his estate to his wife.
Now, according to the publication, his daughter is chasing access to documents about his mental state and health before he passed away.
La Valette, who is Reg’s daughter from the first marriage to Patricia Lola Powell in 1954, appeared in NSW Supreme Court on Monday to formally contest the will. Her barrister Michael Meek SC reportedly claimed there that Grundy suffered “Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment” before he died.
It comes after the publication previously reported La Valette refused to see her father and cut off all contact for 22 years before he died – leaving him heartbroken. His wife Chambers-Grundy said at the time that he had always supported his daughter, and allowed her a glamorous lifestyle where she never had to work, and could live in five-star hotels.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of more than 100 types of dementia, and how the condition progresses is entirely individual – essentially meaning it’s impossible to know with certainty when someone may lose their capacity to make important decisions.
‘Capacity’ itself is a legal term that broadly means you’re able to understand decisions about matters that impact you, can voluntarily make those decisions, and can communicate them to others.
It’s vital to put firm plans in place while capacity exists, Alzheimer’s Queensland previously warned, adding: “It’s too late to attend [to] legal matters once dementia has progressed to the point where mental capacity is lost.”
A will, for example, can be contested on the grounds the person didn’t have capacity at the time it was signed, which makes your will one of the most important pieces of financial planning to attend to in the early stages of dementia.
It’s unclear at this stage whether Grundy had capacity, or if he had Alzheimer’s at all.