When is a divorce more than just a divorce? When famed actor Dennis Hopper battled through an ugly divorce against his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy-Hopper, the battle was more about Dennis Hopper’s estate than anything else. So perhaps no one should be surprised that the war turned uglier once Dennis died.
This is installment #15 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts. See other articles in the series here.
The Easy Rider star had anything but an easy ride during the last few months of his life. He passed away from cancer at age 73, smack-dab in the middle of his divorce war with Victoria, who was actually six years younger than Dennis Hopper’s oldest daughter.
Dennis had filed for divorce, accusing Victoria of being insane, inhuman, and volatile. Victoria responded by claiming that Dennis was not mentally competent and that his adult children from his prior marriages Read more...
Celebrity heirs fighting over the estate is far from uncommon … the Trial & Heirs Blog never has a shortage of material to cover. But, it is unusual when an ugly court battle starts before the celebrity dies and then only continues to grow more heated as time passes. That certainly has been the case with the Dennis Hopper Estate.
The Easy Rider star filed for divorce from his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy-Hopper, in January, 2010. Victoria is about six years younger than Dennis’ oldest child, daughter Marin Hopper. The two have been feuding for some time now.
The Dennis Hopper Trust Battle
As explained in this prior Dennis Hopper article from Trial & Heirs, Victoria claims that Dennis’ children put him up to the divorce, manipulated him, and that he didn’t really want to divorce her. These claims were a bit at odds with other allegations she made in her lawsuits, including that Dennis Hopper was abusive and controlling of her during their marriage. So were they Read more...
The divorce contest between the late Dennis Hopper and his wife, Victoria Duffy-Hopper, was ugly when he was alive. It’s turned even uglier since he’s passed away.
Duffy-Hopper dropped a new bomb on the children of the Easy Rider star, and the Trustees of his Trust, by filing two new lawsuits recently in Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles.
In the cases, she claims that his children wrongfully forced her to move out of Hopper’s house, so they could grab a bigger inheritance at her expense. She alleges Marin Hopper, one of Hopper’s children from a prior marriage, manipulated, coerced and told Hopper “cruel lies”. She did this, according to one of the lawsuits, to drive a wedge between the happy couple and force him to file for divorce.
Dennis Hopper Trust
But, the marriage couldn’t have been too happy, since Duffy-Hopper takes aim at her late husband, too. She asks the Court to invalidate the couple’s premarital agreement, saying that Hopper intimidated, coerced and threatened her until Read more...
Forbes.com recently featured an article we wrote about our celebrity-based Trial & Heirs‘ Top Five Estate Planning Tips for Divorcees. Here’s a shortened version. Go to Forbes.com for the full article:
1. Update your will and/or trust. Life events like divorces are a critical time to update all estate planning documents with an experienced attorney.
Take the case of Gary Coleman. Since his death, a variety of documents have surfaced purporting to be his will. We know that Gary Coleman was divorced in 2008 from his wife, Shannon Price. It was on an episode of Divorce Court after all! The problem is that Price claims that she’s entitled to inherit all of Coleman’s assets based on a 2007 handwritten will and as his “common-law wife.” Now it looks like the estate will be tied up in a long and nasty fight. If Gary Coleman had an estate planning attorney draft a clear will after his divorce, the impending legal battle may have been avoided.
2. Don’t forget the Read more...