Three months after his death on July 24, the body of actor Sherman Hemsley has still to be buried. Months of legal dispute over Hemsley's will have put the actor's estate in limbo. As we've written previously, a man by the name of Richard Thornton-Hemsley's former manager, and self-proclaimed businessman-claimed that he was the actor's brother.
Thornton filed a civil lawsuit disputing the validity of Hemsley's will, which was signed one month prior to his death. But Hemsley is on record as saying that he was an only child. Flora Enchinton-longtime friend of Hemsley and one named as sole beneficiary of his will-has said that Thornton is an opportunist looking to get at Hemsley's estate, which is valued at $50,000.
Thornton has been ordered to undergo a DNA test, but we have yet to hear about that. In addition, a minister who claims to be a cousin on Hemsley's mother's side, has come forward promising to intervene in the case. He claims that Enchinton was not close to Hemsley and that the Thorntons were not related to the actor. He is on the record as saying that his family is not looking for money, but that they don't want anybody to get something they are entitled to.
Wells has also said he believes Hemsley's estate is worth more than just $50,000, though reports at the time of the actor's death indicated that there was no foul play suspected.
If Thornton is determined to Hemsley's half brother, he will have the right to challenge the validity of Sherman's will, but it will likely be an uphill battle since he will still need to provide a legal basis to challenge the will.
Source: Fox News, "Sherman Hemsley still not buried 4 months after death; bizarre legal dispute continues," Hollie McKay, October 29, 2012