Tag Archives: legendary figures

Malcolm X Estate: legacy tied up in family feud

Before he was assassinated in 1964, Malcolm X was a polarizing figure. He was revered by many as one of the greatest African-American figures ever, but was accused of racism and antisemitism by others. Perhaps it should not be surprising that his financial legacy is embroiled in conflict and strife. The resulting family feud has created a mess that has not been resolved for more than 14 years.

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little, but became El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. His widow, Dr. Betty Shabazz, died tragically from severe burns she received in a fire in 1997, when she was 61. The fire was set by their 12-year old grandson.

No will of Dr. Shabazz was found, although some family members thought she had one. The probate court in New York overseeing her estate appointed two of the couple’s six daughters as the estate administrators.

While the estate was at one time valued at around $1.4 million, with the potential to earn much more, an unpaid tax debt has continued to Read more...

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John Steinbeck Estate: Heirs Fighting 40 Years After He Died

American icon John Steinbeck, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and Pulitzer Prize, having authored such classics as Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden, died at age 66 in 1968.  Even a mind as creative as his likely couldn’t have envisioned a fight over his property continuing to rage more than 40 years after he died.

When he died, much of John Steinbeck estate passed to his third wife, Elaine (whom he married in 1950).  He did  not specifically include the literary rights to his works, so they passed under the residual clause in Steinbeck’s will, to Elaine.  Elaine, in turn, died in 2003.  She left those rights and other property to her family members, excluding Steinbeck’s children.  This included her husband’s summer home in upstate New York, which passed to her sister, Jean Boone.

The New York Times recently wrote an interesting article about the lawsuit by the children against Boone and others, which sought to reclaim the house and

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