Farrah Fawcett’s estate planning wishes have been at the center of a number of lawsuits, as we describe in this article about Ryan O’Neal. O’Neal was sued by the University of Texas, which claimed that he wrongfully removed the famed Andy Warhol Farrah Fawcett painting from her home after she died. O’Neal defended himself, saying that this copy of the painting was his and he had permission to take it back after Fawcett died.
The University of Texas disagreed, suing O’Neal back in 2011. The University’s lawyers felt that, because Fawcett’s revocable living trust left all of her artwork to the University, it should be the rightful owner of the Farrah Fawcett paining, not O’Neal. It turns out there were actually two copies of the famed portrait, and the University already received one of them. But it sued O’Neal for the other one too.
The case proceeded to trial last month, lasting three weeks. O’Neal called several witnesses, including former friends of Fawcett and her former caregiver, who Read more...
It’s the beginning of the year, which means that we all have well-intended New Year’s resolutions. The diet, the exercise regimen, saving money…and finally doing our estate and financial planning. The celebrity stories in Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! can help motivate you to actually do your planning in 2014. Really!
Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!
Here are some of our easy-to-use tips for the new year:
1. Get your financial affairs organized in 2014. Create an “asset” list, including the account numbers, names of financial institutions, and related information for your insurance, stocks, bonds, CDs, securities, bank accounts and other investments.
2. Store your asset list and your estate planning documents in a fireproof box, safe, or safety deposit box. Remember to make sure that your loved ones can find and access these documents! We have an Estate Planning Organizer to help you with this. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more.
3. Review and update your estate planning documents and your Read more...
Access Hollywood featured a segment about the Britney Spears Conservatorship. The show examined how the successful entertainer can headline a new multi-million dollar Las Vegas show and mentor young singers as an X Factor Judge, yet not be deemed competent enough to manage her basic life decisions like food, clothing and shelter.
Danielle and Andy Mayoras of Trial & Heirs served as experts for the segment. After watching the segment, what do you think? Does Britney Spears still need the protection of a conservator — almost six years after the legal proceeding started — or is this all about the money? Watch Access Hollywood’s segment on the Britney Spears Conservatorship:
Access Hollywood. Dec. 19. 2013 – Short clip from Trial And Heirs on Vimeo.
By Danielle and Andrew Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, click here to subscribe to The Trial & Heirs Update. You can Read more...
Nelson Mandela left behind an unparalleled legacy of peace, dignity, and selflessness. If early reports are accurate, some of his children and grandchildren don’t exactly subscribe to the same value system. When you think of the man who spent 27 years in jail to bring down apartheid, do you think of clothing lines, reality TV shows, or a wine label? Probably not. But those are a few of the ways that Mandela’s heirs have used his name to profit.
So perhaps it was no surprise that his children and grandchildren began fighting, even before the South African champion of equal rights passed. Mandela’s eldest grandson, Mandla Mandela, was accused of shady maneuvering, hoping to make his gravesite into a profitable tourist attraction. This summer, the New York Times reported that Mandla was sued by other Mandela family members because he felt, as the eldest grandchild, he should decide where Nelson Mandela should be laid to rest.
The problem? Mandla’s dream of a tourist site built around the body of his Read more...
For many years, kids across America listened to Casey Kasem, both as the legendary host of American Top 40 and as the voice to many cartoon characters including Shaggy of Scooby-Doo fame and Batman-sidekick Robin from Super Friends. But now, his own kids say they don’t even get to listen to him — or even see him for that matter. And it’s led to an ugly family feud in court.
Casey and Jean Kasem / Getty
The 81-year old Casey Kasem suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease and is essentially bedridden. He cannot walk without assistance and may have diminished mental capacity. His wife of more than 30 years, Jean, has barred Kasem’s children from his first marriage, and other friends and family members (such as his younger brother) from visiting or speaking with Kasem.
In order to pressure Jean to allow them to see Kasem, daughters Kerri Kasem and Julie Kasem, with more than a dozen friends and family members, held a protest in front of the Kasem home. When Read more...
Last week’s jury verdict sent shock waves through Michael Jackson fans who were hoping to see concert promoter AEG Live held at least partially responsible for Michael Jackson’s death. Many expressed outrage at the verdict. At first blush, the jury verdict does seem odd.
Michael Jackson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The jury was charged with answering 16 questions, in order, given to them on a jury verdict form. If they answered any one of the first few questions in the negative, then AEG Live would prevail and there would be no need to answer the remaining questions.
The jury unanimously answered the first question in favor of the Michael Jackson heirs: AEG Live did hire Dr. Conrad Murray, the jury determined. This was a hotly disputed issue, with AEG Live arguing that Michael Jackson had hired the doctor himself. Michael Jackson’s legal team cleared that first hurdle.
Question two pertained to whether Dr. Murray was “unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired.” Based on the criminal Read more...
Many people never stop to think of how hard a job it is to administer the estate or trust of someone who passes away. Often, it’s a thankless job, filled with headaches. That’s certainly been the case for the Michael Jackson Estate executors: entertainment attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain. Well, at least the headache part.
Here are the top 5 legal challenges and complications that the Michael Jackson estate executors have had to worry about in the last few months alone:
1. The AEG Wrongful Death Trial: It’s a Thriller!
Now nearing the five-month mark since opening statements, the heirs of Michael Jackson vs. AEG trial has been filled with twists and turns, from Lionel Richie’s ex talking to the King of Pop’s ghost to Jackson’s childhood friendship with a mouse (as revealed by the Rolling Stone).
Where is the case now? Heading to the jury. While many in the media were quick to report how the Judge recently dismissed two AEG executives from the case, Read more...
Anthony Marshall, February 2013
The New York Department of Corrections decided recently to release Anthony Marshall from prison, only eight weeks into his one-to-three year prison sentence for committing fraud and a host of other crimes in taking advantage of his elderly mother, Brooke Astor. Given how few crimes of financial exploitation of the elderly are actually prosecuted, it’s a sad message to send.
The New York District Attorney’s office spent six months in trial and many millions to prosecute Anthony Marshall and his accomplice, attorney Francis X. Morrissey Jr., in 2009. Facing enormous odds trying to prove an 85-year old multi-millionaire illegally exploited his mother, they secured a conviction for 14 counts out of 16, for financial exploitation, fraud, and a host of related crimes.
Anthony Marshall To Be Paroled
Perhaps this tale should be unsurprising considering it involves heirs of the tabloid fortune built around the concept: ”Inquiring minds want to know!” Two of the heirs of the tabloid founder, Generoso Pope, have engaged in dueling lawsuits for years — culminating in allegations of kidnapping, fraud, extortion, and even an arrest for criminal stalking. All between a son and his mother.
The National Enquirer
Generoso Pope was the founder of the National Enquirer. He died in 1988, leaving behind a will and trust that called for the company to be sold. Generoso’s youngest son, Paul Pope, desperately wanted to buy and run the tabloid, but was unable to raise enough money. Reportedly, it sold for $412.5 million, with $200 million going to Lois Pope — Generoso’s widow and Paul’s mother — and $20 million for each of the four children, including Paul.
National Enquirer Heirs Feud
According to Paul, about $186 million from the estate funded a marital trust created by Generoso. As would be typical of Read more...
Sam Simon is a co-creator and executive producer of the longest running scripted primetime show ever: The Simpsons. Simon, however, clashed with the other Simpsons’ creators and left the show in 1993, after only four seasons. Co-creator Matt Groening called Simon and “brilliantly funny” but “unpleasant and mentally unbalanced.” D’Oh!
In hindsight, Simon should also be described as a brilliant businessman. He negotiated to keep executive producer credits for the show and a share of The Simpson’s profits each year, including the highly-lucrative home media distribution. So despite having left the show 20 years ago, Simon is still listed as an executive producer on each episode. And his profits keep rolling in, year after year.
Interestingly, Simon appears embarrassed by how much money he still receives — tens of millions of dollars each year, as he’s revealed in media interviews. He’s said it’s far more money than he could ever need. Because Simon is divorced, and has no children (although he is engaged), Simon says his family members are already Read more...