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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Anna Nicole Smith’s Case Makes A Comeback

Anna Nicole Smith caseIt’s now, officially, the Estate Fight That Refuses To Die!  The quest for money started by Anna Nicole Smith — the former Playboy Playmate, stripper, TV reality star, and the true love of 89-year old Texas oil tycoon, J. Howard Marshall — is not over.  Despite almost 18 years of litigation, two trips to the United States Supreme Court, and untold millions of dollars spent on legal fees, the Anna Nicole Smith case lives on.

Anna Nicole Smith (a/k/a Vickie Lynn Marshall) sued after her elderly husband died, following their 14-month marriage.  She was not happy being left out of his massive ($1.6 billion) estate.  She blamed one of his sons, Pierce Marshall, who inherited everything.

Anna Nicole Smith Case

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No Happy Mothers Day: Kobe Bryant Disputes Mother In Lawsuit

Kobe Bryant, long-time Los Angeles Laker and future Hall-of-Famer, is in a bitter feud with his own mother over ownership of memorabilia potentially worth more than one million dollars.  He’s locked in a he-said, she-said dispute about whether he gave the items to his mother or not.  Kobe Bryant  Lawsuit

Kobe’s mother, Pamela Bryant, signed a Consignment Agreement with Goldin Auctions, in New Jersey.  In doing so, Pamela gave permission to sell more than 100 items from Kobe’s childhood, including his high school game-worn uniforms, NBA championship rings, and high school Varsity letters.  Goldin Auctions, a noted sports memorabilia auctioneer, advanced $450,000 to Pamela, which she used to purchase a house.

The big problem, of course, is that Kobe Bryant says he never gave the items to his mother and that he certainly never authorized the auction.  He sued the auction house in California to stop the sale, just days after the auction house sued him in New Jersey to permit the auction to go forward.

Kobe Bryant Disputes Mother In Lawsuit

While Read more...

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Amanda Bynes’ Comeback Could Begin With A Guardianship

Amanda Bynes came into the public eye as one of Nickelodeon’s sweethearts.  Now friends and colleagues are so worried about her recent  erratic behavior that they have been begging for police intervention. Her former publicist, Jonathan Jaxson, tweeted: “I just spoke to @AmandaBynes and she is soooo messed up on drugs and please @NY POLICE find her and help her! I don’t know her address!”

Amanda Bynes

Jenny McCarthy then tweeted, “Police are at @AmandaBynes house. I hope they get her help. Enough of this circus. She needs help.”

Just over a year ago, Amanda Bynes started down a path that many probably could not foresee. It started with being charged with driving under the influence last year after she hit a police car when she was talking on her cell phone. After that, she was charged with two more hit and run accidents, which were later dismissed. Since then, her behavior has seemed to get more bizarre and erratic by the month.

More recently, she tweeted to R&B/hip-hop artist Drake Read more...

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Kim Kardashian Divorce Update: Case Settled With Kris Humphries

Not many people — even celebrities — can claim a record as impressive as the Kim Kardashian divorce with Kris Humphries.  The marriage:  72 days.  The divorce:  536 days.  But, it’s finally over.  Kim Kardashian Divorce

And according to reports, it was Kris Humphries who caved at the last minute to settle the case, just weeks ahead of the May 6 trial date.  Per TMZ, Humphries had been demanding either an annulment based on fraud or a $7 million pay-out.

So why the change of heart for Humphries?  For one, it’s seldom easy to prove a case of fraud in court.  It’s easy to claim fraud, but in divorce, civil, and probate cases alike, actually finding the goods to prove fraud is not easy.  Humphries’ lawyers tried, conducting many depositions and digging through extensive records.  Reportedly, they did not find enough proof that Kim Kardashian tricked Humphries into the marriage or staged it only for publicity.

Kim Kardashian Divorce Settlement

ABC News published an interesting story about a key deposition from the Read more...

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Michael Jackson’s Death Trial: AEG Vs. The Jackson Family

Michael Jackson death trial

Michael Jackson at Cannes festival (Wikipedia)

Jury selection began yesterday for the Michael Jackson death trial. It’s the trial of Katherine Jackson and Michael’s children against concert promoter AEG Live.  The Jackson heirs reportedly will ask the jury for $40 billion in damages against AEG Live.  They blame the company for Dr. Conrad Murray’s ill-fated propofol treatment of the late King of Pop.

What is the Michael Jackson death trial really about?  Can the concert promoter be held legally responsible for Dr. Murray’ criminal mistreatment of Michael Jackson?

The answers are complicated and will be sorted out over the course of the next two to three months in front of a Los Angeles jury.  The trial will turn on two key questions:  Did AEG Live “hire” Dr. Murray to treat Michael Jackson, and if so, was it foreseeable to AEG that Dr. Murray could overdose Michael?  If the jury determines that the answer to both questions is yes, then it would then have to determine how much blame should be 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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