Tag Archives: Estate Battles

Rosa Parks Estate: Legacy Stained By Court Feud, Wild Accusations Of Corruption

Fighting over estates is never pretty.  These court battles are emotional, draining, and sometimes downright nasty for everyone involved.  When they happen to the estate of a beloved American icon, it’s even more tragic.  Rosa Parks Estate

Rosa Parks Estate has been embroiled in fighting since not long after she died on October 24, 2005 at the age of 92 in Detroit, Michigan.  You can read about the long history of the court battle, which we summarized in this Trial & Heirs article.  In short, the Michigan Supreme Court restored the rights of the primary beneficiaries to Rosa Parks’ estate plan, years after the probate court judge ordered that their rights had been forfeited.  Finally, it seemed that the fighting had reached its end.

Instead, the battle actually turned uglier than before.  The attorney representing those beneficiaries who rights were recently restored — Rosa Parks’ friend Elaine Steele and the charitable institute that Rosa Parks had created, which Steele operates — went on the attack again.  He took the highly-unusual step of Read more...

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Lee Kun Hee Scandal: Samsung Billionaire Accused Of Stealing Millions From Late Father’s Trust

The chairman of the Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee, comes in at number 106 on Forbes’ list of the world’s top billionaires, with a reported net worth of $8.3 billion, as of March. But did he acquire some of that fortune illegally from his late father’s trust?  That’s what his brother and sister accuse him of in a recent lawsuit that is growing uglier by the day. 

In February, Kun-hee’s older brother, Lee Maeng-hee, filed the suit in Seoul, South Korea. Now joined by two other family members, the lawsuit claims that when their father, Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull, died in 1987, he left millions of shares in Samsung Life Insurance (the world’s 14th largest insurance company) as well as preferred stock in Samsung Electronics and cash, in trust.  Specifically, he placed the asset into the name of Samsung executives for the benefit of his family.  Lee Kun-hee then wrongfully took the stock and cash and transferred it into his own name, rather than dividing it among the heirs as Read more...

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Martin Luther King Estate: Another Lawsuit Brewing Because Martin Luther King, Jr. Died Without A Will

There is no doubt about the greatness of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, his estate planning wasn’t so great.  In fact, King made a mistake that too many people make everyday in our country … he procrastinated with his legal planning and died without a will.  Though no one can anticipate a tragic assassination like MLK’s, the reality is no one is promised tomorrow.  Every adult should have at least a basic will.Martin Luther King Estate

In large part because of this, his legacy has been marred by fighting among his children over the handling of his estate, including claims of secrecy, mismanagement and misappropriating assets.  Years ago, MLK’s heirs formed a corporation to manage King’s estate, but then they fought over control over the corporation. You can read Trial & Heirs’ coverage of the lawsuit between the King children here.  Luckily, the heirs were able to reach a settlement and ended that round of fighting.

But, that doesn’t mean the court battles have ended.  The corporation which operates the estate Read more...

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Bob Marley Estate: Are Bob Marley’s Heirs Destroying His Legacy?

While being widely loved for spreading reggae music throughout the world, Bob Marley stood for more than just music. His songs promoted freedom for poor and oppressed people throughout the world, social equality, and justice.  Marley even won the 1978 United Nations Medal of Peace.

Sadly, events surrounding Bob Marley’s estate have been anything but consistent with his musical legacy.  2011 marked the 30-year anniversary of the day Marley died of cancer, at the age of 36, on May 11, 1981.  In those 30 years, his estate has seen far too many court fights, lawsuits and money-grabs to count.  And that legacy of fighting over money doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon.

Just last week, a corporation owned by his widow, Rita Marley, and his nine children, sued Richard Booker and two corporations he owned. Who is Richard Booker?  Bob Marley’s half-brother.  Among other Jamaica-based business ventures, Booker operates musical festivals and a company which gives tours of the village where Marley was born and is now buried. Read more...

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Bill Davidson’s estate settles lawsuits

The Detroit Free Press featured an article recently about the lawsuits surrounding the estate of the late owner of the Detroit Pistons, Bill Davidson.  You can read our prior article about the estate here.Bill Davidson and Pistons

The estate of the late Bill Davidson has been the target of at least three lawsuits seeking to wrest at least $20 million from the fortune left by the billionaire businessman and owner of the Detroit Pistons — a hazard that one attorney said is the result of being very rich and dead.

Of the three suits filed in Oakland County Circuit Court, all have been quietly settled, according to court records and attorneys involved. Details of the settlements have not been revealed.

Forbes magazine had estimated Bill Davidson’s fortune in 2009 at $5.5 billion.

With an estate that big, it’s no surprise that fights would arise over it, said Andrew Mayoras, a Troy probate litigation attorney who writes a blog on the estate disputes of famous people.

“In this economy, it’s more and more

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