By all accounts, actor Gary Coleman had a difficult life after his days as the childhood star of Diff’rent Strokes. He was estranged from his parents and died — nearly broke — at the age of 42. While he was married at one time, he said in a TV interview that he remained a virgin, even after his marriage. So what kind of marriage was it?
Not a very happy one, according to a Utah judge who recently issued a ruling to decide who gets to administer, and ultimately inherit, what little constitutes Gary Coleman’s Estate. The lawsuit pitted Gary Coleman’s ex-wife, Shannon Price — who said she actually was still his wife until he died — against Coleman’s friend and former head of his corporation, Anna Gray.
Gary Coleman Estate Battle
In 2005, Gary Coleman signed a will naming Gray as his executor and beneficiary. But Coleman married Price in 2007, and then signed a handwritten codicil to the will (“codicil” means amendment to a will) in Read more...
Shannon Price and Gary Coleman enjoyed a brief, but love-filled marriage until they divorced in 2008. How do we know it was so loving? Because, according to Price, they remained together as common-law husband and wife, even after they divorced.
That’s right, she says they lived together, enjoyed marital relations, and considered themselves to be a married couple until Coleman passed away at age 42 on May 28, 2010. Utah is one of the few states that permits common-law marriages.
And whether they truly were a common-law married couple is the focus of the estate fight currently brewing now. It doesn’t make much sense for a couple to get divorced, as Coleman and Price did, but then become a common-law married couple.
Perhaps that’s why the estate fight has dragged on so long. Price’s spokesperson said that she’s battling in part to be able to receive Coleman’s ashes so she can properly lay them to rest … that is, she wants to lay most of them to rest.
She wants 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...