Naomi Judd apparently didn’t leave anything in her will to her daughters

Naomi Judd battled clinical depression for a huge chunk of her life. She died by suicide on April 30 of this year at the age of 76. It was a sad story and a tragic end to one chapter of the Judd family saga. Naomi was survived by Larry Strickland, her husband of 33 years, and her two daughters, Wynonna and Ashley Judd. Apparently, Naomi’s will has finally become public record and as it turns out, Naomi didn’t leave anything to her daughters. Wow.

Naomi Judd left her only two daughters, Wynonna Judd and Ashley Judd, out of her last will and testament, Page Six can confirm. The late country singer – who died by suicide on April 30 – instead appointed her husband of 33 years, Larry Strickland, as the executor of her estate, according to court documents.

Naomi requested in the will that the musician, 76, have “full authority and discretion” over any property that is an asset to her estate “without the approval of any court” or permission from any beneficiary of the estate.

She also stated, per the documents, that Strickland would be entitled to receive “reasonable compensation” for his services, and that he would be paid or reimbursed for all “reasonable expenses, advances and disbursements, including attorney’s and accountant’s fees, made or incurred in the administration of my estate.”

The will was prepared on Nov. 20, 2017, nearly five years before Naomi died.

According to the documents, the “Love Can Build a Bridge” singer – who suffered a life-long and public battle with depression – was of “sound mind and disposing memory” when she signed and approved the will.

Melissa Sitzler, a senior account manager at a Tennessee law firm called Wiatr & Associates, and another individual named Abigail Muelder signed as witnesses, vouching that Naomi was of “sound mind, memory and understanding, and not under any restraint or in any respect incompetent to make a Last Will and Testament.” claims a source told them Wynonna, 58, is “upset” that she was excluded because she formed one-half of the duo, The Judds, with Naomi and “believes she was a major force behind her mother’s success.” However, reps for Wynonna and Ashley, 54, did not immediately return Page Six’s request for comment on their feelings about the will.

[From Page Six]

After her death, most experts put her estate at around $25 million. I have no idea if that includes the song catalog or not, but even without the song credits, that’s still a very big estate. Chances are, her husband was always going to get almost everything, because that’s just the way estates work most of the time if there is a living spouse. But I am surprised that she left nothing to Ashley and Wynonna. I remember that Oprah interview with the Judds years ago and even Oprah seemed uncomfortable at the tension between them.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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47 Responses to “Naomi Judd apparently didn’t leave anything in her will to her daughters”

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  1. cabooklover says:

    Naomi, Wynonna, and Ashley all had a very complicated relationship with each other. But at the end of the day, Wynonna also made money as part of the Judds, why would she feel entitled to the money her mother made? Larry was married to her for 33 years, it should go to him as the surviving spouse.

    • Josephine says:

      It was her money. I never get when people feel entitled to anyone’s money and her daughters are very well off. It might have been spite, but no one is destitute.

    • LilacMaven says:

      Maybe it’s not the money that upsets Wynonna.

      People always focus on money, but what about family mementos, heirlooms? Photographs? Things like that.

      Yes, I think it would annoy me if I had to beg my stepfather (who they don’t sound close to) for copies of family photos or family heirlooms.

      They may not be entitled to it, but I can certainly understand how this could cause issues.

      • Both Sides Now says:

        Yes!! I am certain that neither daughter cared about the money but family heirlooms which are held close to our hearts. These are family treasures that we grew up with and would like to pass on to our children.

  2. snappyfish says:

    It isn’t at all unusual for a spouse to leave everything to the spouse upon death in the will. There Is mention of an estate and trust which is where most of her assets would be in order to minimize the estate tax. I am sure both of her daughters are provided for in the trust. It is what happened in my family. My father left everything to his wife, but there was a trust of which she was the executor and that is where he left property and money to my sister and myself. I think both girls are fairly well off, but considering the tragic circumstances surrounded their mother’s death, I’m sure emotions and feelings are running high

  3. girl_ninja says:

    Mother daughter relationships can be difficult and complicated. I do believe that she loved her daughters very much but she struggles for so many years with her disease. I remember the interview that Oprah interview and how on a particular issue she kept at Wynona and Ashley had to firmly but respectful defense of her sister so that her mother would stop.

  4. ME says:

    Her money, her choice. No one is entitled to anything. It’s not like her daughters are broke and homeless. She could have left it all to charity if she wanted to.

  5. Jaded says:

    I see nothing wrong with that — Wynona made huge bank as part of The Judds duo. Mr. Jaded has left everything to me in his will, as I have with him. And Naomi and Wynona had a well known history of tension and discord in their relationship. As for Ashley, I think she just pursued her acting career and activism and kept away from the family issues.

    • Tina says:

      Are you sure about that? I heard Wy wasn’t in control of her money. That is one of the reasons she didn’t live to far from her mother. They had a co-dependent relationship.

  6. lunchcoma says:

    It’s not always that simple in estates where there’s a surviving spouse, especially not where the spouse isn’t the parent of all or any of the children. Wills vary a lot and typically take the needs and relationships into account.

    Also, the background legal rules for cases where someone doesn’t have a will vary by state and generally don’t make anyone happy. I STRONGLY suggest that anyone who’s married to someone who’s not the parent of all of their children have a will, because otherwise things won’t work out the way that seems sensible to you.

    As for this particular case, it sounds like all three of these women have a difficult relationship. Wynonna presumably received part of the profits from The Judds in her own right, and then she had a solo career that was even more successful. Ashley has her own career as well. I suspect both of them will be fine without an inheritance, and Naomi presumably felt that her husband of decades needed the money more.

  7. Jess says:

    I have loved The Judds since I was a kid and got to see Wynonna perform decades ago at the Texas State Fair. And while I’ve never seen any of Ashley’s movies, reading about her role in breaking the Weinstein story in She Said made me really admire her. But that Oprah interview – Wow. I know poor Naomi had challenges, but it must have been really challenging for her daughters too. And Wynonna definitely seemed to play mediator between Naomi and Ashley. I’m sure these past months have been so hard for Wynonna and Ashley and I just hope they have each other to lean on. As for the will, it’s hard to know if this is a blow to the kids or not. They may know and agree with this, or it could be like Ric O and Paulina P and a total intentional mean exclusion, but without actually hearing from the ones left behind, it’s impossible to evaluate.

  8. lucy2 says:

    This doesn’t seem unusual to me? Everything transfers to her longtime spouse, totally normal. Perhaps when he passes, some of the estate will go to the daughters, or it may all go to charity, who knows. But this doesn’t seem odd to me at all, especially since both daughters are successful, grown adults.

    • ArtMaven says:

      I don’t know either, but if he did they would be family just as Ashley and Winona are, wouldn’t they?

  9. K says:

    Does Larry Strickland have other kids tho? It is Naomi’s money and choice, for sure. But where it may seem unfair is when he dies and all Naomi’s estate that’s left goes to his heirs, not her daughters. Again, it is what it is and I’m assuming she made her choice. I think I read that when Jim Morrison died, his estate went to Pamela by default as his wife. Then when she died shortly after, it all went to her heirs, her parents. Jim’s in-laws got his estate. I think lawsuits ensued. Ah, trusts and estates law!

  10. maggi says:

    I have been repeatedly disinherited by my father as punishment for failing to make him the sole priority in my life. I didn’t do anything terribly spicy or illegal, I just want to live my own damn life and stop feeling trapped as his housekeeper/surrogate housewife, both before and after my mom died.
    I have zero knowledge of the inner workings of the Judd family but this reminds me of my own experience of a sick parent punishing their child.

    • CS says:

      I’m surprised by the number of comments about “entitlement.” Of course no one is entitled to inherit from someone, but can we not imagine the hurt of being left out completely of your own parent’s will, particularly when your careers were also so intertwined? It would certainly hurt me. And you’re right, it reeks of punishment.

      • Tina says:

        The part that surprised me is that there’s nothing sentimental. “The necklace with the initials” or “the blanket grandma made you” or anything like that. That’s what makes it seem cruel to me but YMMV. Naomi wouldn’t have had a career without Wynonna.

    • girl_ninja says:

      I’m sorry that you were treated this way by your father. I do think that Miss Naomi’s depression pushed her to leave her girls out of her will. Sometimes this disease can cause bitterness.

  11. Rapunzel says:

    Considering she’d have none of that money without Wynonna, I think leaving her nothing is a bit unfair.

    I wonder if Wynonna and Ashley had tension with Naomi over her treatment of her depression. Like maybe Naomi thought they forced her to medicate. In that Oprah interview, iirc, Naomi discussed how she pretty much hated the meds making her gain weight, etc.

    Additionally, my theory has always been Naomi killed herself because she stopped taking her meds to do one last tour with Wynonna. I think they thought she could hold on till the tour was over, but she couldn’t. I wonder if that was part of the tension- Naomi feeling like she needed to be making money instead of taking care of herself. Anger at that could explain why she killed herself the day before she and Wynonna were joining the Country Music Hall of Fame.

  12. PugsleyMom says:

    Executors cannot be beneficiaries which means her husband only gets reimbursed for the management of her estate. The beneficiary details have not been disclosed.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Executors can be & often are beneficiaries of wills, which makes sense because they tend to be close family members. You are correct that they haven’t disclosed the beneficiaries of the will.

    • Truthiness says:

      I was the executor of both my mom’s will and of her trust. I was a one third beneficiary. It’s a common situation.

      • Renstewart says:

        I honestly don’t have a problem with this, especially since they are probably well off. I am a believer in bestowing gifts while I’m here so I can see my kids enjoy it or even recover financially. Perhaps she did the same. Got it from my Mom and Dad who called it an advance on our inheritance. My parents were not well off at all and lived on military retirement.

    • Smu says:

      Certainly executors can inherit. I was the executor and sole beneficiary of my dad’s will. That’s because my siblings and dad’s wife had all passed. I would love to have had them all here to share, but that was not to be.

  13. Lizzie Bathory says:

    As others have stated, it wouldn’t be unusual to leave everything to a surviving spouse.

    However, Page Six doesn’t actually say anything about the beneficiaries of the will. It basically just says that she made her husband the executor. Why make a point of mentioning who witnessed the document without mentioning the beneficiaries? My guess is the will directs everything to a trust, the terms of which won’t be public, so Page Six is grasping at straws.

  14. Elsa says:

    That is how my will is set up. We each leave to the spouse. After we both go, it is divided between our 3 kids.

    Of course, we aren’t rich and don’t have assets like a music business that our child was part of developing.

  15. tealily says:

    Both women have their own money. It does seem right the money should go to the surviving spouse. And as executor, he can choose to distribute to the daughters. This really doesn’t seem that strange to me.

    • Owlsyn says:

      I thought the same thing. I don’t want to be insensitive and if course, it is about more than money, but both daughters have some wealth already.

  16. Lizzie says:

    I always felt sorry for her and her struggle. I would only ever criticize her will if either of her daughters were destitute. Otherwise adult children really have no claim.

  17. KFG says:

    Naomi’s MH issues impacted Wynonna and Ashley. She lied to Wynonna about who her real father was and let’s be honest, without Wynonna she wouldn’t have been successful. Wynonna was and is really protective of Ashley because Wynonna was pushed into adult spaces as a teenager. I get not leaving them money, but she didn’t even leave them keepsakes. That’s what seems mean.

  18. Renee' says:

    I am so glad you mentioned the Oprah interview from years ago. I remember it so well and also felt the tension in that family. It felt like there was a lot of resentment as well as secrets in that family. Wynonna wasn’t told she and Ashley had different fathers until she was an adult.

  19. og bella says:

    I can understand why the kids would be upset, but also, 33 years? It should go to the husband.

    We just went through something similar. When my MIL (FIL’s second wife) died unexpectedly before my FIL, my husband and his siblings were happy (trust me, she was evil). They knew the entire estate was going to go to the second wife (married 30 years) since she was so much younger than he was and would “undoubtedly” outlive him. Then she would leave everything to HER daughter (who was born while the first marriage was still going on!! The stories!!!)

    When FIL’s will was read after he died a year later, my husband and his siblings were gutted in that his half sister convinced a 90 something old man to make sure the second wife’s desire to cut out the kids from the first marriage stayed intact. It was a sizable estate, including a family business that at one time or another, all the kids had worked in.

    I would hope that Larry will include her daughters in his will.

    • Both Sides Now says:

      I would imagine that your FIL’s Will could be contested. At his age as well as the versions of his first Will could be used to show manipulation by the step daughter. Not many people change their Will at such a late stage and being of sound mind could play largely into the contest.

    • Lisalemann says:

      Yeah – those are the possibilities that could really complicate leaving everything to the spouse. Although most of the time -I think it’s archaic – Louisiana law – where I live – has all kinds of weird quirks because it was based on the Napoleonic code. One of them is “forced inheritance”. You HAVE to leave half of your estate to your spouse – if you had one – and the other half to your children. It’s weird – but in cases like these – I can see why it exists.

  20. Jessica says:

    They are adults and have their own money. She doesn’t owe them anything or need to take care of them. That being said..she did it knowing Ashley would be the one to find her and that is so so awful for all of them. The whole thing is so sad and she has struggled for years.

    • Both Sides Now says:

      @ Jessica, what a cruel position to put Ashley into. That was unkind as well as cruel. I would never put my children in that position if I was to commit suicide.

      Not that I am, but I have had those feelings in the past.

    • Frances Elliott says:

      I love the Judds since 85. I really have to say without mom Wynonna would not be where she is today. She has stated that herself. And she was also making money back then but went crazy with it which is totally understandable being so poor young and rebellious. Naomi deeply loves her daughters and also knew that they would be fine for the rest of their lives as well as her grandkids great granddaughter. They have their own millions. Wy is still young and performing with husband making new music. They will be totally fine. And I’m sure mom didn’t want no conflicts with Ashley and Wy. It’s Naomi’s money she went through hell and back several times to reach the top so that they can have the life we all dream of. Larry was the love of her life it should go to him!

  21. Oh-dear says:

    The only concern I would have would be for rights or ownership of music – I would hope that if Naomi still had rights she would have transferred them to Wynona or left them to some entity that manages that stuff for them. It would suck if Wynona had restrictions on their music because her mom didn’t plan for Wynona’s career and legacy.

  22. ArtMaven says:

    While we do have wills, my husband doesn’t need to leave me anything because it’s also mine.

  23. equality says:

    Maybe she had already earmarked or given them any family heirlooms. She also had two grandchildren who are not rich and famous that she was supposedly close to, so you would think she would leave them something.

  24. Christine says:

    These ladies have very complicated relationships. Naomi and Ashley weren’t invited to Wynona’s wedding. They live on the same property( HUGE) and go long periods of time without speaking. Mental health is so tough to deal with. My mom has mental health illness and it is just about enough to tear our family apart at times. No one knows how to deal with it. And my sister and I are in our 40’s. It sounds like Ashley is close to the husband but Wynona seems to be doing her own thing. I hope for peace for them all. It is such a tragedy.

    • equality says:

      That was Wynona’s third wedding that she kept very simple and apparently only the bride and groom’s children attended. Not really that weird.

  25. Fiona says:

    This is why I’m going to have a will. The property that I work for is going to my children and grandchildren. Not because they are entitled, but because I love them. Yes, even if they are adults. Let’s face facts some adult children would be homeless without parents. I will help pay for their education and perhaps a house down payment in the future. I won’t be paying the same amount for my stepchildren. I honestly wouldn’t want my husband to leave his children and grandchildren out of his will. I wouldn’t. I would think better of him as a person if he didn’t. My children maybe adults, but I’m going to hopefully make the future easier for them. Nope I don’t want his money, but I am independent. If you’re not it is different. Nope. I’m not entitled to my husband’s money and he isn’t entitled to mine. That money will go towards my children’s retirement and grandchildren’s future. It will help them do better in life.

  26. intheknow says:

    I honestly don’t understand when people who have their own money (especially more than enough) is upset that they are left out of a will. I have a particular distaste for entitlement and greed.

    • equality says:

      I see nothing that says they are upset besides an anonymous “source” which was probably a voice in the reporter’s head.

  27. HeyKay says:

    The personal lives of these 3 women are fascinating to me.

    The Judds were successful because Wynona had a unique voice/sound, in addition to the Mother/Daughter act, IMO. But Naomi must have been the driving force that got them started.

    Their private lives have had so much going on, little stability in their younger years and then big success and wealth, that alone is a hell of an adjustment.