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Saints owner, Tom Benson, who passed away Thursday, completely wrote his daughter and grandchildren out of his will, reports WWLTV. The will at one point notes, “I specifically provide that Renee Benson, Rita LeBlanc, Ryan LeBlanc and all of their descendants shall have no interest in my succession whatsoever.
Benson, 90, signed his will in July 2015, just more than a month after a judge found him mentally competent to handle his own affairs.
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Among the witnesses to that signing was New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, a close confidant of Benson and his wife, Gayle. The document solidifies who Tom Benson considered closest among his inner circle and reiterated that his daughter, Rene Benson, and grandchildren Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc would not get another cent of his money.
“I specifically provide that no legacy or other inheritance or benefit of any kind shall be paid to any of them under this will or otherwise,” Benson wrote in his will.
Benson, however, said after he removed them from his business leadership team that the three would be “very well taken care of after I die.”
The document spells out that he would leave his property to a trust and that he wanted Gayle Benson to have sole power over the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans.
The family feud partially stemmed from an argument between Gayle Benson and Rita LeBlanc during a Saints game in 2014. Rene Benson, Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc later described Tom Benson as being mentally unfit to remove them as heirs so he could leave his fortune and sports empire to his wife.
Louisiana law empowers relatives to contest wills on various grounds, including that the deceased was mentally incapacitated or subject to undue influence in making it. The attorney for Benson’s jilted relatives, Randy Smith, has not indicated whether his clients intend to pursue that option, The New Orleans Advocate reported.
Benson’s visitation is set for Wednesday and Thursday at Notre Dame Seminary. A funeral Mass will be said Friday at St. Louis Cathedral. Attendance is by invitation only.
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