Actor Sherman Hemsley of “The Jeffersons” and “Amen” died at his Texas home three months ago. But he has still not been laid to rest. According to Fox News, it is because both the beneficiaries of his will and his cause of death have been called into question.
An employee from the San Jose Funeral Home in El Paso tells Fox that Hemsley’s body is still at their facility and that they await a court order telling them what to do with it.
The legal dispute at the heart of the problem is between Hemsley’s former manager and live-in companion Flora Enchinton, who was named the sole beneficiary in his will, and Richard Thornton, a man from Philadelphia who claims to be Hemsley’s brother. Thornton has filed a civil lawsuit disputing the validity of the will. The value of the estate is estimated at $50,000.
Now a third party has come forward — Reverend Michael George Wells, a minister at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, who claims to be a cousin of Hemsley’s on his mother’s side. Wells says that he doesn’t believe Enchinton was close to Hemsley, nor that Thornton is related to the actor.
“We are family, and we are not looking for money. But if we are entitled to something, we don’t want anyone else to have it,” he tells the El Paso Times.
Wells also tells Fox that he questions the claims Hemsley died of cancer and that the estate is only worth $50,000. But Wells does not have the money to get into the legal battle.
Judge Patricia Chew ordered Thornton to take a DNA test. The trial over the estate and remains will resume Wednesday, Oct. 31.