FAMILY page 3
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But family members suggest
their uncle was paranoid and
possibly incompetent at the time
he drafted the will. And they
charge that Irvin Abramson en-
riched himself, partly at the ex-
pense of their own parents, who
were the brothers and sisters of
"Whatever money he started
out with was derived from the
family," said Dr. Geller, the
nephew in St. Louis. "He never
worked a day in his life, he nev-
er was employed by anybody,
and the best he did was work in
the family furniture store, mov-
ing furniture around."
tie. The relatives will have to
prove that Mr. Abramson was in-
competent or under duress when
he signed the will in 1986, or that
the will was improperly execut-
ed in some way.
Dr. Geller declined to specu-
late on how the will may be at-
tacked in court, but said he had
lingering questions about his
uncle's mental capacity.
He recalled that in 1986, only
a few months after the will was
signed, Irvin Abramson drove to
St. Louis with his ailing sister
Edith to visit the G-eller family.
"They both seemed rather
odd," Dr. Geller said. "He had
According to Dr. Geller, the
Abramson clan was always "a
kind of fractured family."
Irvin Abramson disliked his
father and had/ complicated re-
lations with his eight siblings.
The only family members he re-
mained close to were his mother
Ethel and his sister Edith, whom
he lived with until her death 10
The feeling was apparently
mutual. For when Irvin's moth-
er died in 1963, she left nearly all
of her $50,000 estate to Irvin and
Edith. The other children —
Abraham, Dora, Rose, Charles,
Helen, Seymour and Esther —
were each given $5.
It was a rebuff that family
members never forgave.
Dr. Geller, a retired college
professor, said his uncle refused
to share his money with his less
"One of my aunts had had
mental problems and was always
in some difficulty," he said. "She
was basically supported by her
sisters who had very limited
funds. To my knowledge, they re-
ally received no financial help
from him and yet he was sitting
on this mound of cash.
"It's the end of a long, sad sto-
ry and I really think that some
of that money ought to find its
way back to his nearest rela-
tives," he said.
But having the will struck
down would seem an uphill bat-
no luggage, his car was littered
with shopping bags, and it just
looked like a mess."
He said his uncle said almost
nothing during his stay and did
not appear to have slept. "I had
the impression he wandered
around the house at night," he
But Jerry Raymond, the at-
torney who drafted the will, said
he has no doubt Mr. Abramson
knew exactly what he was do-
"There is no question in my
mind of his competence," he said
David Abramson, a cousin of
Irvin Abramson who is not a
part of the probate court case,
"I had nothing but respect for
Irvin and thought he was fully
competent to live the way he
did," David Abramson, of Bloom-
field Township, said. "He was
not off-center. That was just his
Whatever the outcome, the
impending court challenge
means that the three charities
cited by Mr. Abramson will not
see any money soon.
Stuart Snider, the attorney
for Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, ap-
peared resigned to a lengthy
"There's one important rule
that governs all these cases," he
said. "Where there's a will, there
are relatives." [i]
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