Sheldon family dispute ends up in Alaska Supreme Court
It may be the last stop for a long-running family dispute. On Wednesday, the Alaska Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments over the estate of Roberta Sheldon, wife of the famous Talkeetna glacier pilot Don Sheldon.
Don Sheldon died in 1975 and Roberta Sheldon died in 2014. For the last three years, the couple's three children have been trying to resolve issues with a trust Roberta Sheldon left behind in which Robert Sheldon is the administrator.
Two of the adult children, Robert and Kate, recently completed a luxury chalet located on property the family owns on the Ruth Glacier. The court case seems to primarily involve access to the Mountain House, a small cabin on the same property that was built by Don Sheldon in the 1960s.
The oldest Sheldon child, Holly Sheldon Lee, isn't happy with how the trust has been settled-- especially her share of the Mountain House. In fact, Holly is arguing the settlement isn't valid. The State Superior Court has already ruled the settlement is valid but Holly is appealing their decision to the justices.
The family went through mediation in 2015 to try and sort things out. Holly signed the agreement, but in court on Wednesday, her attorney argued that she didn't understand it was a final settlement. Attorney Robert John said Holly was feeling ill at the time and that her brother, Robert, didn't give her all the information she needed to make an informed decision.
But the attorney for Robert told the judges that his sister did know what she was signing and that if she didn't, her attorney, who was present at the time, certainly should have.
Robert said under the terms of the trust, which his mother dictated, he had no obligation to allow his sister to have any share in the Mountain House at all, although he offered, and she accepted a one-third economic interest in the property.
Holly, who along with her husband, owns Sheldon Air Service in Talkeetna, said one of her biggest frustrations is that the settlement no longer allows her to fly clients to the Mountain House to ski or hike.
It may take some time for the issues in the case to be decided. The Alaska Supreme Court generally waits six months to a year before they issue a ruling.
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