Last Will Of Mary Reeves Must Be Honored, Judge Says

Aug 4, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
A judge has said the last will and testament of Mary Reeves, widow of country music legend Jim Reeves, must be honored.

A Nashville judge recently ordered that royalty payments for the music of country music legend Jim Reeves be distributed according to provisions in the last will and testament of his late widow, The Nashville Tennessean reports.

After Jim Reeves died in a 1964 plane crash, his widow Mary Reeves received all the royalties from his music, and when she remarried in 1969, she and her second husband, Terry Davis, signed a prenuptial agreement stating Mary would retain all the royalty rights, according to The Tennessean. In 1976, Mary drew up a last will and testament stipulating equal distribution of her major assets to family members.

The Tennessean says an aging Mary sold the Jim Reeves catalog for $7.6 million to a state fair company called United Shows of America in the mid-1990s. Jim Reeves's niece challenged the sale in court. While this case made its way through the legal system, Mary Reeves died and Terry Davis claimed he discovered a handwritten will she wrote to replace the 1976 document. In the new will, she allegedly left Davis all the rights to Jim Reeves's music.

After years of legal wrangling, Davis agreed in June 2011 to waive his claims regarding the handwritten will, according to The Tennessean. This prompted the recent ruling that Mary Reeves's 1976 will must be honored.

The family of rock icon Bo Diddley recently challenged a provision in his will granting his lawyer, Ron Stevens, the right to sell his catalog, the Gainesville Sun reports.