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Williams children seek insurance money

The three siblings want a policy intended to be distributed 10 years after his death to be parceled out now.

By CARRIE JOHNSON, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2002


INVERNESS -- The dispute continues over Ted Williams' remains, but at least one part of the baseball legend's affairs seems close to resolution.

Williams' three children are asking a judge for permission to receive their shares of an insurance policy their father left them.

While the money was originally intended to be distributed to the siblings 10 years after Williams' death, the grown children have asked the trustees of his estate to parcel out the entire amount now.

In the court filing the trustees -- Albert B. Cassidy, Eric D. Abel and David A. McCarthy -- seek permission from a Circuit Court judge to allot the money in accordance with the children's wishes.

According to the filing, each sibling will receive approximately $200,000 from an irrevocable insurance trust Williams created in 1986.

The trust also set aside money for Louise Kaufman, Williams' longtime companion. However, she died in 1993 and her portion was redistributed to the Hall of Famer's grown children: John-Henry and Claudia Williams and Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell.

In a separate legal filing, Kaufman's heirs are seeking pieces of furniture. The furniture, though inside Ted Williams' Citrus Hills home, belongs to their mother, they said. The pieces include framed Chinese prints, a statue of a Buddha, a dining room table and several rugs, among other items.

Her children also are claiming a half-interest in a Citrus Hills condominium they say Ted Williams gave their mother, according to court documents.

In court papers, representatives from Ted Williams' estate dispute the claims.

Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell's husband, Mark, reached at his Citrus Hills home Friday, declined comment on the trust.

"As far as our personal business is concerned, I don't think people need to know that," he said.

Neither John-Henry Williams nor Claudia Williams could be reached for comment.

The family has been locked in a dispute since their father's death July 5. Ferrell has accused her younger brother and sister of defying their father's wishes by cryonically preserving his remains.

Ferrell is suing to have the terms of her father's will carried out. In the 1996 document, Williams said he wanted to be cremated after his death with his ashes spread over the coast of Florida.

The will also specifically excludes Ferrell from any inheritance, with her father explaining he had provided for her during his life. The will said that Ferrell, his eldest daughter, "shall be deemed to have predeceased me."

A few weeks after the court battle erupted, the lawyer for John-Henry and Claudia Williams produced a hand-written note he said superseded the will. It was a piece of scrap paper signed by Ted Williams and his youngest children that read "JHW, Claudia and Dad all agree to be put into bio-stasis after we die. This is what we want, to be able to be together in the future, even if it is only a chance."

A lawyer for John-Henry and Claudia Williams has asked a Citrus County circuit judge to throw out, on technical grounds, Ferrell's claim to the body.

The case has been continued several times, most recently on Nov. 6. A new hearing date has not been set.

-- Carrie Johnson can be reached at 860-7309 or cjohnson@sptimes.com .

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