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Joint account is latest disputed item in battle over Banks estate

Attorneys argued Wednesday whether a joint bank account late Cubs legend Ernie Banks shared with his longtime caretaker should be included in his disputed estate.

Tom Jefson, an attorney representing Ernie Banks’ estranged wife, Liz Banks, wants more information about the bank account.

He argued the account should be included in the estate, which both Liz Banks and Regina Rice, Ernie Banks’ longtime caretaker, lay claim to.

Rice’s attorney, Linda Chatman, does not want to provide information on the account, Jefson said.

“Our position is that it’s not part of the estate,” Chatman said.

It was not disclosed how much money was in the bank account.

Both sides will be back in court to discuss the matter in May. A specific date was not set in court Wednesday.

Wednesday’s hearing was before Cook County Judge James G. Riley, who last month confirmed the authenticity of a will that left everything to Rice. In February, lawyers for Liz Banks had suggested the ailing baseball great was coerced or tricked into disinheriting his relatives.

Riley also gave permission to Rice to sell a 2007 Lexus that Banks owned — the proceeds of which will be put into the disputed estate.

Banks’ family was further angered by a Facebook post in which Rice showed herself enjoying a bottle of champagne at a spa just eight days after Banks died.

In court Wednesday, Jefson also asked for records associated with sales of signed baseball memorabilia sold on a website run by Rice.

Rice managed Banks’ business affairs, handled his public appearances and memorabilia sales, and describes herself as Banks’ trusted confidante.

Neither Rice nor Liz Banks was in court Wednesday.

Rice has not commented on the case since February, when she said: “It is understandable that Ernie’s family is concerned at this very sad time. . . . However, the record and those closest to Ernie will dispel any iota of concern regarding my relationship with Ernie and his trust in me to carrying out his wishes.”

Last month, Jefson vowed to fight Riley’s decision to authenticate the will that has left everything to Rice.

“We’re going to see where the evidence goes,” said Jefson, who has subpoenaed Ernie Banks’ medical records.

Banks signed the will Oct. 17 in a suburban law office. Two paralegals testified in March that Banks was of sound mind when he signed the will.

The fight over Banks’ estate began began within days of his death on Jan. 23 at the age of 83.