Tag Archives: Probate Court

Let’s Go Crazy: Prince Estate Enters New Fight Over Who Will Inherit His Millions

So much trouble caused by such a simple concept.  When you create a will, you decide who receives your assets after you die.  If you don’t, the laws of the state you live in determine it.  What happens when those laws aren’t too clear?  Chaos.  And the Prince estate is experiencing it in full force.  Prince estate

Maybe it’s fitting for the estate of the man who sang, “Let’s Go Crazy.”

Prince’s estate — reported to be worth as much as $300 million dollars before taxes — is tied up in the early stages of a long battle over who really are his heirs.  Still?  Didn’t the judge already resolve that months ago?

Originally, it appeared so.  Dozens of people came forward claiming to be Prince’s son, daughter, or other relative.  The DNA did not support them, and the judge denied their claims.  He determined that Prince’s full sister and five half-siblings all qualified as heirs.  He ordered the other two, a reported niece and grand-niece, to undergo DNA testing as well. Read more...

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Tom Clancy Family Estate Dispute Resolved After Years Of Fighting

While the final Tom Clancy estate battle may not have been as exciting as the climactic scenes in The Hunt for Red October or Patriot Games, the struggle between author Tom Clancy’s widow and four adult children over his $86 million estate is now over.  The seven justices on the Maryland Court of Appeals (the highest court in Maryland) were asked to rule about what a key clause in the codicil to Clancy’s will actually meant.  While it was close — four votes to three — the ruling marked a decisive victory for Clancy’s widow.Tom Clancy Estate Dispute

Considering that Tom Clancy is one of the best-selling authors of all time, it is ironic that the fight boiled down to how to interpret a clause in his estate planning documents that was written in an unclear manner.

The dispute centered around a provision in Clancy’s second codicil (which means amendment) to his will.  The will, originally signed in 2007, divided Clancy’s assets into three trusts:  one-third for his wife, another third for Read more...

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The Prince Estate: Trouble Brewing And Still No Will After 1st Court Hearing

Despite the probate process having just begun for Prince’s Estate, one thing is clear — it will be a long and rocky road for everyone involved.

Prince's EstateWhile no one can dispute the artistic and creative greatness of the artist whose real name was Prince Rogers Nelson, the famed singer’s business smarts were often overlooked. Prince closely maintained and guarded ownership and control over the rights to his music, including the publishing rights, master recordings, performance royalties, and more. He famously stored hundreds of unreleased songs in his “vault”, to be released only when he wanted them to be made public.

The value of this music cannot be known until the contents of the vault are revealed, but estimates of Prince’s net worth based the earnings and future royalty rights to music already released range from $300 million to $500 million.

Those figures may be too low. His music sales have already soared by more than 16,000% in the days following his sudden death. That bump could only be the beginning. Read more...

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Joan Rivers Protected Her Family With Good Estate Planning

Joan Rivers was widely respected for her sense of humor, work ethic, and willingness to say almost anything for a laugh.  When it came to planning her estate, Rivers treated it as no laughing matter.  joan rivers estate planning

Joan Rivers’ last will and testament was signed on November 16, 2011.  A thorough and well-drafted legal document, her will named a living trust as her beneficiary.

Specifically, Joan Rivers, whose full legal name was Joan R. Rosenberg, signed the Rosenberg Family Trust on the same day as the will.  The will directed that all of her estate assets were to be distributed to that trust.

Melissa Rivers to Inherit Over $100 million of Joan Rivers Estate

Interestingly, the final version of Joan’s trust was far from her first.  In fact, the will stated that her trust was actually the 11th amendment of the original trust, and the third complete restatement.  This means that the original Rosenberg Family Trust was changed, many times over, and rewritten completely three times (not counting the original version).  When Read more...

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Why Did Joan Rivers Die? Melissa Rivers Seeks Answers

Even though she was 81 years old when she died on September 4th, there is no denying that Joan Rivers died too soon. She continued to entertain with an energy level that suggested she was anything but eighty-something. Melissa Rivers has now hired a law firm to find out exactly why Joan died … and who, if anyone, should be held responsible.

Representatives for Melissa Rivers told E! News and others that she retained a New York law firm to “fully determine all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Joan Rivers.” Other reports state that the law firm is sending letters to the medical center that performed the surgery which led to Joan Rivers death, as well as the doctors’ offices involved, demanding they preserve their records and phone logs. This is the first step in the long process of pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Melissa Rivers Retains Powerhouse Attorneys For Death of Joan Rivers

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Next, Melissa Rivers will have to file in probate Read more...

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Tom Clancy Estate In Family Fight Due To Poor Estate Planning

Anyone who knows who CIA analyst Jack Ryan is likely appreciates the work of late author Tom Clancy.  Called the “father of the techno-thriller,” Clancy’s career took off with his first novel, The Hunt for Red October.  His career — spawning movies such as Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger — led to more than 100 million copies of his Tom Clancy Estatenovels in print, with 17 books hitting the top spot on the New York Times best-seller list.

Tom Clancy passed away on October 1, 2013 from heart failure, at age 66.  He was survived by his widow, Alexandra Clancy, and their young daughter, as well as four adult children from his first marriage.

Author Tom Clancy Dies At 66 (Oct 1st, 2013)

Tom Clancy Estate Value

The Tom Clancy Estate has been valued, based on probate court filings, at $82 million.  It includes a $65 million ownership stake in the Baltimore Orioles, a rare, working World War II tank, a $7 million mansion overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, and more Read more...

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Sarah Hershberger Guardianship Case: Exploring Parents’ Rights To Make Medical Decisions

To most parents, the question of whether the government should intervene to dictate how a child should be raised is an easy one. Parents, not the court system, should decide what is best for their children — in the absence, of course, of abuse or neglect. But does that change when a child’s life is on the line?  Sarah Hershberger Guardianship Case

That is the difficult question facing a court of appeals in Ohio regarding Sarah Hershberger.  What are the constitutional rights of parents to make life-or-death medical decisions for their child?  What if the decision the parents make flies in the face of conventional medicine and, according to traditional doctors, means the child will die in less than a year?

Sarah Hershberger Guardianship Case

Sarah Hershberger is the eleven-year-old daughter of Andy and Anna Hershberger, who are Amish.  The family lives in an Amish community near a small town outside of Cleveland.  At least, they did until recently.  Because the Ohio court system appointed a guardian over Sarah — for the sole purpose Read more...

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The Controversy Over Arturo Gatti’s Death May Never End

arturo gatti's death

Arturo Gatti

Arturo Gatti, the former world-champion boxer, died violently while on vacation in Brazil, in 2009.  His wife, Amanda Rodrigues Gatti, was arrested for murder, only to be released after the police ruled the death a suicide.  Now, almost four years later, Brazilian authorities have re-opened the investigation and the case may soon return to court.
It’s the latest chapter in a long line of legal struggles that started after Arturo Gatti’s death.  Gatti’s mother, brother, and the mother of his first child have always believed that Rodrigues was responsible for his death.  Gatti was found strangled by Rodrigues’ purse strap, and she reportedly was in the room with his body for ten hours without realizing he was dead.

Rodrigues has consistently maintained that Gatti committed suicide.  She points out that autopsies have been done in both Brazil and Montreal — where the couple lived — and both determined that Gatti killed himself.
Arturo Gatti’s Death

But that has been only part of the controversy.  The other family members Read more...

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Urooj Khan: Unsolved Murder of Chicago Lottery Winner Sparks Family Feud

Chicago businessman Urooj Khan jumped for joy when he learned he had the winning numbers for a million-dollar lottery drawing last summer.  Too bad he never had a chance to enjoy it.  He was murdered days before he was going to receive the $425,000 lump-sum, after-tax winnings.

Urooj Khan / Illinois Lottery

Originally, the 46-year-old’s death was ruled natural, due to hardening of the arteries.  Later a family member — unidentified so far — raised suspicions with the police that led to testing blood and tissue samples.  The results came back positive for cyanide.  Police reclassified the death as a homicide.

Khan’s body was recently exhumed, several months after he was originally buried, so more testing could be done to help police learn more about his cause of death.  So far, they haven’t named a suspect.  However, Khan’s brother isn’t waiting for the police to do so.  He’s already spoken out.

Urooj Khan lottery local news video

Urooj Khan’s brother, Imtiaz Khan, told the Chicago Sun-Times that he has suspicions Read more...

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Jenni Rivera’s Estate Heading For Turmoil

Jenni Rivera was a singer-songwriter, actress and Telemundo TV star who died tragically Jenni Rivera Estateon December 9, 2012 in a plane crash in Mexico.  While well-known to fans of Latino music and Mexican TV, Rivera appeared poised to breakthrough to mainstream America due to a new TV show she was set to star in for ABC.

The 43-year old Rivera lived a turbulent life.  She had her first child at age 15 and then married the father.  They had two more children together, but it was a marriage of abuse and molestation.  After the divorce, Rivera’s first husband was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in jail for child molestation.

Rivera married twice more and had two more children from her second marriage.  Her third marriage, to professional baseball player Esteban Loaiza, also was ending.  The couple filed for divorce on October 1, 2012, citing irreconcilable differences.   There was a report that Rivera and her eldest daughter had been fighting because the daughter had an affair with Loaiza, but it’s a Read more...

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