Benson's will: Gayle Benson named sole beneficiary, heirs and descendants cut out of inheritance
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - We are learning more about Tom Benson's last will and testament, a document that appears to make it clear he wanted his third wife Gayle to have full control of his billion-dollar-plus sports empire.
The will, executed with some high-profile witnesses, was filed Friday in Orleans Parish Civil Court.
Tom Benson's will seems to clarify that the car dealer turned sports mogul wanted his wife Gayle Benson to be the sole beneficiary of his lucrative franchises the New Orleans Saints and the Pelicans. It is a document that lays out a succession agreement that was initially planned three years ago.
"They signed off on it and they know exactly what they agreed to do. And Gayle and the organization has the authority to continue what was set up in the settlement agreement," says Benson's longtime attorney Phil Wittmann.
The will, which Civil Court Judge Kern Reese ordered to be executed on Friday, reflects Tom Benson's wishes stating in no uncertain terms, "I specifically provide that Renee Benson, Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc and all their decedents shall have no interest in my succession whatsoever and no legacy or other inheritance of any kind."
It was executed under the guidance of Wittmann who successfully defended Tom Benson's mental competency in a high profile trial nearly three years ago.
"I've known Gayle for a long time and she's in control," says Wittmann. "She's the owner and runs both teams and will continue to do so."
The will was signed by Tom Benson in July of 2015 and witnessed by Gregory Aymond, the Archbishop of New Orleans.
It specifically states, "Gayle Benson will have the right to exercise all voting powers over Benson Football LLC and Benson Basketball LLC." It also states, "If Gayle Benson dies within six months, I leave all my estate to the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation."
The will also states if Gayle Benson or Dennis Lauscha can't serve as executor of the estate, then Saints Vice Presidents Mickey Loomis or Greg Bensel would be called on to do so.
Below is Mr. Benson's will in its entirety.
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