Almost two months after his death, Charles Manson’s body remains in limbo as an unusual legal battle over control of — and the potential to profit from — his estate rages on.
This of course raises questions. Why would anyone bother to fight over the estate of a man who spent almost five decades in prison? Even if he was one of the most infamous serial killers of all time, what could there be worth fighting over?
And if there is money to be had, how could someone claim profits generated by a man who became famous for committing profound acts of evil, and still sleep comfortably at night?
Those questions don’t seem to be slowing down three combatants vying for control of the Charles Manson estate and legacy. An avid collector of Manson memorabilia, named Michael Channels, became pen pals with Manson after sending him about 50 letters, leading to a meeting in prison in 2002. Manson then wrote and signed a purported will, naming Channels as his executor, Read more...
Princess Abigail Kawananakoa
Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, known to her friends as Kekau, is true Hawaiian royalty. Now, a bitter court battle rages over the questions of whether she is mentally capable of managing her vast fortune and whether she is the victim of physical abuse and financial exploitation.
Princess Kawananakoa, age 92, is a direct descendant to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii. When the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898, it ended the reign of Queen Lili’uokalani, Kawananakoa’s great-grand aunt. As the closest living relative, Kawananakoa is considered to be the heir apparent who would have assumed the throne if the monarchy had been restored.
Abigail Kawananakoa was also the beneficiary of a large fortune, thanks to her great-grandfather, James Campbell. Campbell, a 19th-century sugar cane industrialist who made his fortune in Hawaii, died in 1900 with an estate worth $3 million at the time. The Campbell Estate has grown since then, topping out over $2 billion in 2007 when the Estate was converted into corporate holdings. Kawananakoa Read more...
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.
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...
Muhammad Ali was never one to shy away from battles. From heavyweight champions in the boxing ring, to the United States Government, and to the ravaging effects of Parkinson’s disease, Ali continued to fight. Now there are growing fears that the fight will follow him into the grave, with mounting reports of trouble on the horizon for his estate and his legacy.
The circumstances are ripe for an estate battle. Muhammad Ali fathered nine recognized children (including his adopted son from his most recent marriage) over the course of four different marriages. Estate disputes between the surviving spouse and children from prior marriages are the most common source of trouble in probate courts across our country. Add in the reality of Ali’s long-standing struggles with Parkinson’s disease — which can have not only physical effects, but mental as well — and there is a strong possibility that unhappy heirs may file challenges in court.
Muhammad Ali’s Estate Could Be Worth More After His Passing
And, of course, there is the Read more...
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.
While 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...
Only a very few pop artists enjoyed careers as diverse, colorful, and successful as David Bowie. He remained fascinating and on the cutting-edge, up until the very end, in ways that extended far beyond making music.
Bowie, whose real name was David Robert Jones (and who didn’t want to be confused with Davy Jones), passed away from liver cancer a mere two days after the release of his latest album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday. Knowing that his cancer was terminable, many people believe Bowie intended his last album — featuring lyrics about mortality — to be a farewell. In fact, the tract, Lazurus, begins with the line, “Look up here, I’m in heaven,” and ends with, “Oh, I’ll be free … Just like that bluebird … Oh, I’ll be free … Ain’t that just like me?”
It’s fair to say there was no one else like David Bowie. He was truly one-of-a-kind, from his iconic music, various personas, and his ever-adapting image, to his finances.
David Read more...
Tupac Shakur was well-known for his “Thug” image, his rap prowess, and his many conflicts — leading up to the tragic shooting that took his life at age 25. So should anyone be surprised at the high number of legal battles involving Tupac Shakur’s estate? Or that Shakur could continue to be a pioneer in rap music, even years after his death?
This is installment #17 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts. See other articles in the series here.
Tupac Shakur came to fame in large part due to his battles with police, inspiring lyrics in his first solo release so violent that Dan Quayle publicly denounced them — building Shakur’s “Thug” image in the process. In the same time frame, he was arrested five times for violent crimes, leading to numerous criminal charges and civil lawsuits, culminating in a confrontation during which he was shot multiple Read more...
When is a divorce more than just a divorce? When famed actor Dennis Hopper battled through an ugly divorce against his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy-Hopper, the battle was more about Dennis Hopper’s estate than anything else. So perhaps no one should be surprised that the war turned uglier once Dennis died.
This is installment #15 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts. See other articles in the series here.
The Easy Rider star had anything but an easy ride during the last few months of his life. He passed away from cancer at age 73, smack-dab in the middle of his divorce war with Victoria, who was actually six years younger than Dennis Hopper’s oldest daughter.
Dennis had filed for divorce, accusing Victoria of being insane, inhuman, and volatile. Victoria responded by claiming that Dennis was not mentally competent and that his adult children from his prior marriages Read more...
As owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, Tom Benson, is used to being in control. He worked his way up from humble beginnings, starting as a used-car salesman, to owner of multiple car dealerships, banks, real estate, and a television station. Of course, Benson is most well-known for owning the NFL’s Saints franchise, which he purchased in 1985. Since then, he has successfully managed the Saints through the lows of Hurricane Katrina to the highs of winning the Superbowl. In 2012, Tom Benson added the NBA’s Hornets (now named the Pelicans) to his stable of businesses. Forbes estimates his net worth to be just shy of $1.9 billion.
For a man with that much success and business acumen, there can be no doubt that one of the things he would enjoy least is someone suggesting he’d lost his wits. Especially when that someone is his hand-picked protégée and granddaughter, along with his daughter and grandson. And even more so when he is brought into court through a Read more...
The late Riley B. King — better known as blues legend B.B. King — often said that the only woman in his life was his guitar, Lucille. But that wasn’t exactly true. King estimated that he had 15 children by 15 different women. No wonder one of his biggest hits was called, When Love Comes To Town.
B.B. King took responsibility for his children. According to CNN, he set up a multimillion dollar education fund for his descendants. King wrote in his memoir that he assumed responsibility every time a woman came to him and said a child was his, without arguing about whether that was true or not. One of his daughters, Patty King, said in a previous interview with Rolling Stone that B.B. King was a great dad who had “done well” by his children.
That same daughter is now leading the charge against B.B. King’s business manager of 39 years, LaVerne Toney. Patty King and half-sister Karen Williams lead a panel of five King children, Read more...