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Brother and Sister Fighting over Multimillionaire Father's Estate

Published February 22, 2017 by Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC

Prolific spending gave Del Dunmire a high profile in his hometown, but he was also generous, supporting a number of charitable organizations.

Locally famous for overcoming an unsuccessful bank robbery and founding what became an international aviation parts company, Kansas City’s Del Dunmire had a reputation for throwing extravagant parties while also supporting Children’s Mercy Hospital, the Salvation Army and Kansas City’s Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Fountain. His legacy is now tangled and somewhat tarnished in an estate battle between Debra Dunmire Hedenkamp and Mark Dunmire, two of his children.

The Cass County Democrat Missourian explains in “Children of Del Dunmire may clash in court over rightful heir to fortune,” that Del dreamed of remodeling the Harrisonville square into an arts and entertainment venue. He spent $10 million to purchase 80% of the square’s properties. Hedenkamp alleges that her brother wrongly influenced their father to amend his will and the details of his trust. Those moves cut her out as a beneficiary and bequeathed all of their father’s fortune to her brother Mark.

A trust created by Del in 2008 named three people as the beneficiaries to his fortune: Hedenkamp and her two half-siblings, Joshua and Jasmine Dunmire. His sister claims that Mark was upset that he had been excluded as a beneficiary, and that in 2014, he wrongly influenced their father to change his will and trust in order to be named as the sole beneficiary.

One petition alleges that Mark exerted an “undue influence” and committed fraud to obtain Del’s signature and alter the millionaire’s 2008 will. Another petition makes similar claims against Mark concerning an alteration to Del Dunmire’s 2008 trust.

Among the exhibits in the case, is a document allegedly written by Mark to his father. Hedenkamp claims to have found the document while cleaning out Del’s apartment after he died. The typewritten document, signed “Mark” and addressed to “Dad,” reads in part, “I have left estate planning documents prepared according to your wishes as you have expressed to me many times. … Witnesses are easy to come up with, just keep in mind that they may be called upon to testify on the veracity of your signature and your capacity when you signed them, so please choose well.”

The document’s legitimacy has not been confirmed. Hedenkamp’s petitions allege that Mark exploited his father’s bipolar disorder to persuade him to change his will and trust. The petitions also allege that Mark tried to convince his father that the shares to be left to Joshua and Jasmine Dunmire, should instead go to a charity.

“Such representations were intended to and did deceive Delbert L. Dunmire,” Hedenkamp claims in one petition.

Mark Dunmire’s attorney says that Del had the mental capacity to update his will and that the evidence will clearly show that was his intent.

Hedenkamp’s petition asks the court to remove Mark as the personal representative of the estate and to appoint a disinterested person to manage it. She also claims that Mark isn’t the sole beneficiary and that Hedenkamp is entitled to the one-third share left to her in accordance with Del’s 2008 will and trust. Her share is worth over $4 million.

The petition further alleges that Mark Dunmire did not disclose personal property at his father’s home at the time of death, including gold and silver bars, coins, guns and other items, with an estimated value of $500,000.

Reference: The Cass County Democrat Missourian (January 27, 2017) “Children of Del Dunmire may clash in court over rightful heir to fortune.”

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