Tag Archives: will

Bo Schembechler’s Son Sues His Stepmom Over Trust

Glenn E. “Bo” Schembechler, Jr., is one of the most respected names in the history of college football.  And, no, I’m not saying that just because I graduated from the University of Michigan (twice).  He built one of the most successful football programs around, and it excelled for decades.Bo_Schembechler

Coach Bo died of heart disease on November 17, 2006, at age 77.  He was survived by his second wife, Kathryn, his son, Glenn III, and two children of his beloved first wife, Millie, whom Bo had adopted (a third adopted son died before him).

From an estate planning perspective, Bo did everything right to avoid a family fight after he passed.  He created a living trust, which was quite detailed and left the income from his assets to his wife, Kathryn, passing from there to his son Glenn III (known as “Shemy”), and then onto his grandchildren and Kathryn’s grandchildren.

He chose Kathryn as his successor trustee to manage his trust after he passed.  As part of this responsibility, Kathryn

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Katherine Jackson’s Shocking Change Of Heart

The Michael Jackson Estate has been the subject of regular court hearings as Katherine Jackson battled for control over the last several months.  She routinely objected to the decisions of the co-executors John Branca and John McClain.  Recently, she hired a new attorney with the promise of taking the case in a new direction, as I discussed in this recent article about the Michael Jackson case.

Michael Jackson Trial and Heirs

Her case took a new direction, all right.  She decided to drop her claim.  That’s right, she stopped fighting and agreed to let the executors run the show without her.

Surprised?  I was.  And I was far from the only one.  Here’s what a lawyer in the case said about Katherine Jackson’s change of heart, according to CNN:

“She has now reneged on her obligation to her family.”  This same lawyer then said that it was “one of the most despicable displays” he’d ever seen in court.  He even accused Katherine of colluding with the estate executors in a “secret deal”.

So who

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Leona Helmsley Charity Battle Rages On

As I described in this article from February 2009, the trustees of the Leona Helmsley charitable trust asked the probate court in New York for permission to donate primarily to charities that helped people rather than dogs, despite some language in the trust that suggested she wanted her billions to benefits animal charities.  Leona_Helmsley_Trial_and_Heirs

Specifically, the trust had a Mission Statement that included, as its first purpose “the provision of the care for dogs”.  But it also gave the trustees discretion to benefit charities as they saw fit.  This is a very important decisions for many charities (not to mention the people or animals they help) because we’re talking about several billion dollars.

This August, several different animal charities, including the Humane Society and American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, launched a legal challenge to the judge’s ruling to force the trustees to support animal charities.  Reportedly, the trustees so far have donated very little to help dogs.

There was a big question whether these charities even had

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FBI Investigated Anna Nicole Smith For Murder Of “Step-Son”

Probate disputes over whether a will or trust was valid, or instead was signed at at time when the person was mentally incompetent or subject to undue influence, are common.  They’re also very emotional and difficult for everyone involved.  The Anna Nicole Smith case — the Granddaddy of all probate disputes — illustrates this more than any other.

Anna-Nicole-Smith-Estate-Trial-and-Heirs

I discussed the case in this article, including how the estate executor/lawyer/former boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, not only lost a request he filed in the federal Court of Appeals on behalf of Smith’s Estate, but how he was charged criminally with conspiring to provide Anna Nicole with the prescription drugs that killed her.

In Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights, which I wrote with Danielle Mayoras, we discuss the case at length (along with dozens more) so people can learn from celebrity errors, protect their heirs, and know their legal rights if they find themselves in a family fortune fight.

But a new twist on the case surfaced recently.  While this Read more...

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Estate fight Is Resolved

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s three children have been fighting with each other in court over control of his estate and financial legacy.  Here are my prior articles about the Martin Luther King, Jr. estate fight.  Two of the three children had sued Dexter King, their brother, who had the legal authority to make decisions regarding the King Estate.  The Estate was run through a corporation, which Dexter oversaw, until the 2008 lawsuit filed against him in Georgia.MLK

Recently, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural D. Glanville had ordered the trio to hold a shareholders meeting and try to resolve their differences.  He also ruled the case would go to trial if no settlement was reached.  Obviously, no one involved wanted the legacy of Martin Luther King fought over in a very public courtroom.

So the three children settled, reported today by the Associated Press.  They agreed to allow a neutral person to act as “temporary custodian” to manage the King legacy and corporation, and give the three children time Read more...

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New evidence coming in the Michael Jackson Estate case

The Michael Jackson probate dispute between his mother and his two executors has been active since it started this summer.  But it looks like it’s about to really get heated up.

Michael-Jackson-Estate-Trial-and-Heirs

For starters, Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother and a primary beneficiary (along with his children and unnamed charities), has been challenging decisions made by co-executors John Branca and John McClain on a regular basis.  She had asked for, and received, permission from the judge to allow her to challenge them based on conflict of interest and undue influence without jeopardizing her rights as a beneficiary under the “no contest clause” of Jackson’s will and trust.

A “no contest clause” is a common provision than many people use in their wills and trusts to discourage family fighting.  It usually says that anyone who files a legal challenge and loses gives up their inheritance.  Katherine Jackson wanted to be free to challenge Branca and McClain without fear of losing her inheritance, and the judge allowed her to do so.

So far, her

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DJ AM aka Adam Michael Goldstein, may have died without a will

Celebrity disk jockey DJ AM, also known as Adam Michael Goldstein, was considered by many to be the best — or at least most famous — DJ around.  He dated models and Hollywood stars, performed regularly with famous singers and rappers, and was hired to play music at the biggest celebrity parties.DJ AM

He was found dead in his New York apartment on August 28th, from a drug overdose.  At this point, it’s unclear whether he committed suicide or not.  He was 36.

This week, his mother filed to open a probate estate for Goldstein’s assets, in Los Angeles.  Interestingly, the probate paperwork filed by her attorney indicates that it is undetermined whether he died “testate” — with a will — or “intestate” — without a will.  Goldstein’s mother lists herself as the only heir, because she is the only surviving parent.  Goldstein was unmarried and had no children.

Under California’s intestate laws, if no will surfaces, this would mean that Goldstein’s sister would not inherit anything; everything would go to

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