Casey Kasem’s Children and Wife Locked In Fight Over Conservatorship

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 Kasem and Jean Kasem / Getty

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...

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Was The Michael Jackson Jury Verdict Wrong In Ruling For AEG?

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 jury

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...

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Top 5 Legal Challenges Facing Michael Jackson’s Estate Executors

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.Michael Jackson's Estate Executors

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...

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Release Of Anthony Marshall, Brooke Astor’s Son, From Prison Is An Insult

Anthony Marshall, February 2013

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

Immediately, Marshall began raising legal challenges and appeals pleading poor health and his advanced age as a reason to avoid the consequences of his crime.  Judge after judge rejected each one, finally landing the criminal in jail on June Read more...

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The Ongoing Feud Of The National Enquirer Heirs: The Pope Family

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 heirs

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...

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Simpsons Co-Creator Sam Simon Teaches Lesson In Estate Planning

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!  Sam Simon

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...

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Will Conservatorship Work For Amanda Bynes?

For months, Amanda Bynes has been like a runaway train charging out-of-control down the tracks.  Multiple arrests … bizarre behavior … friends begging for someone to help her.  Many people feared a dramatic crash and fiery explosion.

Amanda Bynes Conservatorship

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 09: Amanda Bynes attends an appearance at Manhattan Criminal Court on July 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

A much smaller fire may have paved the way for her to get the help she obviously needs.  This week it was reported by multiple outlets, such as the New York Daily News, that Amanda Bynes set her pants on fire and accidentally doused her pet Pomeranian with gasoline in the driveway of an unsuspecting elderly woman.  She reportedly fled the scene, tried to wash the dog off at a convenience store, and fled again.  Bynes was picked up by authorities, who had her committed to a 72-hour psychiatric hospitalization.

This latest incident has given her parents the impetus to file for conservatorship over Read more...

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James Gandolfini’s Estate Planning Mess

James Gandolfini, who won three Emmy awards portraying mob-boss Tony Soprano for eight years on HBO’s The Sopranos, died on June 19th.  That day, he was touring Rome with his 13-year old son, Michael, when he suffered the sudden and fatal heart attack.  James Gandolfini's Estate

Gandolfini had parlayed his acting success into a reported net worth of $70 million.  Last December, he had the foresight to sign a new Last Will and Testament.  Gandolfini also had created at least one trust — and perhaps more — as referenced in his will.  While it would appear at first blush that Gandolfini did the proper estate planning, the recent revelation of his will (which you can read here) shows otherwise.

To put it bluntly, James Gandolfini’s estate is a mess.  Gandolfini failed to do the proper tax planning that would have enabled his estate to avoid — or at least reduce and delay — paying estate taxes.  As reported by the New York Daily News, Gandolfini’s planning failure subjects 80% of Read more...

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Help For Families With Will Contests And Other Probate Disputes

Probate Disputes and probate conflictsDo you know a family who is arguing over an estate after a loved one has passed away?  Whether it’s someone facing a possible probate court battle, wondering about contesting a will, or confused over how a family trust is being handled, finding an early solution before fighting erupts is critical.

Through the years, Danielle and Andy Mayoras have worked with too many families embroiled in estate and probate conflicts to count.  As a result, they’ve started a new project based on their commitment to help families find resolutions outside of probate court and without spending money on attorneys.

Danielle and Andy are authors of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!, which uses true stories of celebrity estate errors to teach people how to protect their heirs.  As Forbes contributors, Danielle and Andy regularly analyze celebrity stories to provide lessons for families across the country.

The husband-and-wife duo now wants to combine their legal expertise to help select families even more.  Danielle is an estate planning and elder law Read more...

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Bill Davidson Estate In $2 Billion War With IRS

Bill Davidson, the late owner of the Detroit Pistons, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Guardian Industries — one of the country’s largest private companies — had a reputation for being aggressive.  The Pistons aggressively built two championship teams under his watch and was inducted into the NBA’s Hall of Fame in 2008.  His businesses thrived through his management.  But the IRS now says Bill Davidson was too aggressive in his tax-reducing estate planning techniques. Bill Davidson and Isiah

The IRS recently filed a petition in US Tax Court in Washington, D.C., claiming that Bill Davidson Estate owes up to two billion dollars in taxes.  Yes, that’s two Billion — with a capital “B”.  How could any individual rack up such a large tax bill?

Davidson, like many wealthy people who worry about estate taxes, gave away assets through gifts, trusts, and other transfers to his wife and other family members.  The IRS says that he undervalued the worth of these assets.  They feel his reported net worth of around $3 billion was really much Read more...

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