NASHVILLE, July 24 (UPI) -- A Tennessee judge set a tentative October trial date for the long-running legal battle over the estate of the late country star Jim Reeves, who died in 1964.
At issue is a dispute over millions of dollars of past and future royalties from Reeves' body of work, which includes "Four Walls" and a bevy of other hits from the "Nashville sound" school of country music from the 1950s and 1960s.
The (Nashville) Tennessean said Sunday the Nashville Seventh Circuit Court ruled that the case would be decided based on the interpretation of a 1976 will written by Reeves' widow, Mary Reeves Davis. The ruling eliminated a later will that left everything to preacher Terry Davis.
Attorney Ames Davis, who represents Mary Reeves' estate, told the newspaper the case was unusual, but not uncommon.
"It's been never ending," Davis said. "It has involved half the attorneys in Nashville, but it's not uncommon when you have a dispute among heirs about significant sums of money."
The Tennessean said the battle basically boils down to a 1976 will designating family members as the beneficiaries of the estate. But in 1996, Mary Reeves sold the entire estate, including the royalty rights to Reeves' music, to carnival executive Ed Gregory.
Gregory went bankrupt in 2002, allegedly owing $6 million to Mrs. Reeves, who died in 1999. Her family contends she was not mentally competent when she agreed to the sale.