W. Marvin Rush II was the founder of what is today the largest commercial truck dealership chain in North America. His death has sparked a new feud—this one between one of his sons and his widow.
W. Marvin Rush II’s son, W.M. “Rusty” Rush III, who is the chain’s chairman, CEO, and president of the company—and Marvin’s third wife, Barbara Rush—have filed competing wills over the late Mr. Rush’s estate.
Chief among the assets at stake is most of Marvin’s stock in Rush Enterprises. That’s the business he founded, grew, and later took public. There are now more than 100 Rush Truck Centers in 22 states, and shares in the company are worth about $74 million. The company posted $172 million in profit on $4.7 billion in revenue in 2017. It employs nearly 7,000 workers.
Rusty claims those shares belong to him, based on his father’s 2006 will. Barbara says her husband of 26 years revoked that will when he made a new one in May 2013 and then another in November 2013. The 2013 wills don’t have any specific bequest of Marvin’s shares, so Barbara says they’re part of his residuary estate. She’s the sole beneficiary.
Rusty alleges that his dad suffered from dementia when he signed the 2013 wills. Barbara disagrees.
Marvin’s obituary said that in “his last few years” he battled Lewy Body Dementia, which can have a range of symptoms. They include problems with thinking, memory, moving, and changes in behaviors.
Rusty filed his opposition to probating either of the 2013 wills. He said that the onset of his father’s dementia was at least five to eight years prior to his death, “thus placing Mr. Rush’s mental capacity in doubt from May 2010 onward.”
Marvin completely disinherited Rusty in the 2013 wills. The will stated: “I do not wish to make any provision hereunder for my son William Maurice Rush, III, or any of his descendants.”
Barbara was named the executor of Marvin’s estate in the 2006 will and in each of the 2013 wills.
The two 2013 wills, which cut Rusty out of any inheritance, “represented a dramatic departure from (Marvin’s) long-standing estate plan of leaving his shares of Stock in Rush Enterprises to his son Rusty,” Rusty’s filing states.
“These wills were also executed shortly after Mr. Rush, apparently with the encouragement of his wife, Barbara, had formed an irrational belief that his son Rusty was somehow ‘at fault’ when the Board of Directors insisted that Mr. Rush step down as Chairman of the Board in May of 2013,” Rusty’s filing continues.
Barbara challenges Rusty’s argument, saying that the 2013 wills were prepared by a law firm and signed by two witnesses.
If Marvin lacked “capacity” or was susceptible to “undue influence” at the time the May 2013 Will was made, Barbara asks how Rusty, as Rush Enterprises’ CEO and president, could have entered into a “Retirement and Transition Agreement” with his father just four days later.
A contentious battle is expected over Marvin’s estate.
Reference: San Antonio Express-News (August 24, 2018) “Dueling wills filed over late truck dealer Marvin Rush’s estate”