What better way to start the new year than by counting down Trial & Heirs Top Ten Celebrity Legal Battles of 2015, complete with lessons?
- Bill Cosby vs. many woman – Andrea Constad is one of dozens of women who have sued Cosby for defamation, accusing the comedian and actor of lying when he denied sexually abusing them years ago. In Constad’s civil lawsuit, Cosby’s deposition was unsealed, revealing that he admitted giving women quaaludes and having intercourse with them. He says both the drug use and sex were consensual. Recently, a Pennsylvania district attorney brought charges against Cosby for sexual assault based on the 2004 encounter with Constad.
Bill Cosby: A History of Alleged Rapes and Cover-Ups
Lesson: When victims of assault or other injuries wait too long, they lose the right to sue under the statute of limitations. The specific length of time varies based on what state the events happened in and what type of claim is brought. That’s why most of the accusers are suing Cosby
Even though Michael Jackson’s father was not included as a beneficiary in his will or trust, it hasn’t stopped Joe Jackson from trying to intercede in the legal proceedings surrounding the estate. First, he asked the judge to remove estate executors John Branca and John McClain.
The probate judge dismissed his claims, saying he lacked “standing” in the estate because he was not a beneficiary. In other words, he did not have enough of a financial interest in the estate to be able to legally complain about who was in charge.
Recently, Joe Jackson filed an appeal of that decision, arguing that he was financially dependent on his son while he was alive, so he did have enough of an interest to attack the executors.
This argument is a long shot, at best. Joe Jackson requested an allowance from the estate initially, but he recently withdrew that request. More importantly, Michael did not choose to leave any of his assets to his father, so even if he supported his Read more...
William Davidson and Melvin Simon had a lot in common. Both were billionaires and both were Jewish. Simon built his fortune through the country’s biggest shopping mall company, Simon Property Group, and Forbes estimated his net worth at $1.3 billion. Davidson led Guardian Industries Corp., one of the world’s largest glass suppliers, and had a fortune recently tabbed at $4.5 billion.
They also each owned NBA franchises in the midwest. Davidson owned the Detroit Pistons (yeah!), while Simon co-owned the rival Indiana Pacers (boo!) with his brother, Herbert Simon.
Both men died last year, with Davidson passing away at age 86 in March and Simon passing in October, at age 82. And both were survived by spouses as well as children from prior marriages.
And, in both instances, the spouse and the children from the prior marriage did not see eye to eye. Because of that, both the Davidson Estate and Simon Estate are mired in lawsuits about the true wishes of the beloved billionaires.
In Davidson’s case, there are Read more...
Danielle Mayoras was recently quoted in this interesting article by the Detroit Free Press about the growing epidemic of exploitation of the elderly. It discussed a very sad case where a daughter took hundreds of thousands of dollars from her elderly mother and now is in jail saying the money is gone and she can’t return it.
This is one example of how more and more families are facing the devastation caused by exploitation of elderly loved ones, often by a family member or caregiver.
So how do families protect their golden seniors, whose lifetime of savings can often be a tempting target for desperate or unethical people? There are no magic answers, but here are a few Trial & Heirs Tips that we provided to the Detroit Free Press which ran next to the newspaper story:
1. Get expert advice. Consider consulting an estate lawyer who will know the ins and outs of estate planning. It’s usually money well spent.
2. Beware of Joint Accounts. When you add Read more...
It’s been seven months since the King of Pop died suddenly at the age of 50, and fights surrounding his estate seem like they may last for many years to come. Creditors are coming out of the woodwork, with new ones surfacing on a weekly basis. The latest, a management company, joins a series of business, medical and spiritual advisers and others who insist they are owed money, totaling more than $20 million, already. That total will certainly climb.
The estate co-executors, John Branca and John McClain, have to sort through the requests for money and try to determine the legitimate ones from the ones that are, well, more fiction than fact. It’s common when someone wealthy and eccentric passes to have all sorts of people saying they are entitled to money. (Jerry Garcia, James Brown, and Marlon Brando are a few notable examples that we cover in Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!).
One of the more interesting requests is from Michael’s father, Joe Jackson, who wants $15,000 Read more...
Who got the money? Who had the biggest family feuds? The mistakes that were made — and what we can learn from them. Two legal experts in estate planning and the authors of Trial & Heirs have the scoop.
If the recent and sudden death of Michael Jackson taught us something – other than the side effects of too much prescription medication – it’s the importance of a will or trust. Wills and trusts are taboo topics. We’re usually far more inclined to talk about Botox injections or mammograms than how we plan to divide our assets. But (and sorry for speaking so morbidly) once you’re dead, it’ll be far too late to finally address it. That’s why regardless of your age and health (Jackson was 50 and about to go on tour), it’s important to have a proper will — not just for your peace of mind, but for your family’s peace of mind too.
In addition to the King of Pop’s highly publicized estate battles, here’s a glimpse Read more...