A top forensic handwriting expert is questioning the validity of Naomi Judd’s last will and testament – setting the stage for a vicious bare-knuckle brawl over the beloved country singer's $25 million fortune, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.
The stunning findings come as daughter, Wynonna Judd, is said to be speaking with lawyers about contesting the will which left total control of the Grammy award-winning legend’s estate to her husband of 33 years, Larry Strickland.
Renowned handwriting expert Peggy Walla of Texas-based LPR Investigations tells RadarOnline.com Wynonna's claim may hold up in court after finding a half dozen defects in the five-page document filed in a Williamson County Tennessee Probate Court in May -- one month after Naomi’s shocking suicide death
“The initials and signature are traced -- they are not written by her,” Walla tells RadarOnline.com after examining the five-page document which was executed before two witnesses on November 20, 2017.
“That means someone put a lighter piece of paper over her regular signature and traced it,” the private investigator said. “It doesn’t have fluidity. Usually when you are signing your name – the pen is already in motion when it starts to hit the paper and it gives it a feathered look where these are intentional ‘starts and stops.’”
When asked if the document can be challenged in court as a possible fake, Walla said: “Yes, it is my opinion the original should be examined - forensically!”
As we previously reported, Naomi tragically shot herself dead at age 76 on April 30 after a long and hard-fought battle with mental illness. In the will, Naomi wrote, “I nominate and appoint my spouse, Larry Strickland, as Executor of my estate.”
While Wynonna allegedly indicated she planned to challenge the estate, her actress sister Ashley is believed to be siding with her late mom and Larry.
“Wynonna was banking on getting a piece of the pie,” dished a source, adding Wynonna, 58, believes Ashley and Larry “conspired against her.”
A source close to Ashley, 54, said she believed her mother “knew what she was doing” by not dropping a big stack of cash in her sister’s lap.
“Wynonna has had money problems throughout her adult life,” a family friend confided. “She’s blown through every dollar she made with The Judds. She even checked into a treatment facility in 2004 for a ‘money disorder!”
Walla, a private investigator, thinks an experienced court appointed forensic handwriting expert can easily spot the discrepancies in the document.
She spotted three defects in Naomi’s signature alone – including an obvious mistake in the letter “O.”
“If you look at the top of the O in Naomi – the top of it is cut off and there is no reason why it should be cut off like that,” she explained.
She also caught errors in two of Naomi’s initials found at the bottom right of three of the pages -- where the “J’s” crossbar ends pointing up while the singer’s bona-fide handwriting have the end of the “J’s” crossbar sloping down.
“You and I sign our names every day and we don’t have to think about how to form the letter, or if it looks right, we don’t think about stuff like that,” she said. “The (pen) pressure is the same all the way across – the starting and stops of the initials are blunt instead of feathered – like someone intentionally started and stopped.”
Melissa Sitzler, a senior account manager at a Tennessee firm Wiatr & Associates, who witnessed the will signing was unavailable for comment. A man answering the telephone at firm told Rader: “We don’t have any comment, thank you very much,” before abruptly hanging up.
The second witness, Abigail Muelder, was also unavailable for comment.
Several messages left by RadarOnline.com at the offices of Nashville lawyers Michael D. Sontag and David H. Mayer who prepared the will -- ex not returned.