Ernie Banks will leaves everything to caretaker Regina Rice; Family contesting

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A dispute between Ernie Banks' family and a woman who cared for him during his final years has intensified. Banks' sons accuse their father's caretaker of coercing "Mr. Cub" into signing a new will and giving her his assets.

Banks' family says he was suffering from dementia when he signed the new will. But the woman now in control of his estate says the Cubs legend trusted her to carry out his final wishes.

Just over two weeks ago, Ernie Banks' twin sons praised the woman they're now battling as they stood beside their father's casket.

"Thank you to Regina and Tony, who took care of him until the bitter end," Joe Banks said at his father's funeral.

But Joey and Jerry Banks, who both live in California, say it wasn't until after the funeral that they learned their father's agent and caretaker in Chicago, Regina Rice, had control of the Hall-of-Famer's estate.

"I just think all of this is an absolute travesty that an individual on this planet could live with themselves in this fashion," Jerry Banks said.

The brothers say just three and a half months ago, their father signed a new will - cutting out the family and putting Rice in charge of his trust. Banks, they say, was suffering at the time from dementia.

"This was all done when he was at his weakest moment," Joey Banks said.

On Monday night, Rice said in a statement: "Ernie was an intricate part of my life for over twelve (12) years. Ernie trusted me to carry out his wishes, some during his lifetime and others after his life. He made me promise to adhere to his wishes and I am determined to do just that."

The Cubs legend once told a reporter he wanted his ashes scattered at Wrigley.

"It's like my home. It's my Bible. It's my life," Ernie Banks said in August 2013.

But his estranged wife Elizabeth went to court last week to prevent Rice from cremating Banks' body. The family claimed he wanted a burial. Where Banks will be laid to rest is now part of the legal fight.

"It's a joke. This is not what he wanted. This is not the legacy of my father," Jerry Banks said.

There have been conflicting reports about the current whereabouts of Banks' remains, whether he was cremated or buried, or if neither has occurred. Attorneys for both sides declined to offer an answer.
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