Tag Archives: trust

More Legal Fireworks Involving The Farrah Fawcett Trust

Ryan O’Neal is at it again.  He and Craig Nevius, a Hollywood producer who used to work closely with Farrah Fawcett, are in the midst of more legal fighting against one another.

Farrah Fawcett Trust

Andy Warhol’s famous portrait of Farrah Fawcett

Initially, they both sued, each claiming the other had exploited Fawcett while she was sick from the cancer that claimed her life.  Why?  They both said the other had taken advantage of her to produce a documentary about her life and her sickness.  Those lawsuits ended when Nevius ran out of money for legal fees.

Now, he has no choice but to continue fighting.  Ryan O’Neal — Farrah’s ex and father to Farrah’s son — has sued Nevius again.  What’s at stake this time?  It’s all about the art.

Specifically, a certain, famed Andy Warhol painting of Fawcett in O’Neal’s possession. O’Neal says Warhol gave it to him years ago.  Not everyone thinks he’s being honest though.

In fact, Farrah Fawcett’s Trust, which you can read here, states that her Read more...

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Should More of Leona Helmsley’s Trust Fund go to Help Dogs?

Leona Helmsley, widely regarded as the “Queen of Mean” before she died at age 87 in 2007, left behind a fortune valued by some to be worth four to eight billion dollars. She earmarked twelve million dollars to take care of her dog, Trouble, until the Judge reduced it to a paltry two million.
Helmsley left most of the remainder of her billions to charity, specifically directing that her trustees were to use their discretion for what charitable purposes to benefit. But she also signed a Mission Statement that instructed the trustees to exercise that discretion first for “purposes related to the provision of care for dogs” and, only secondly, for “such other charitable activities as the Trustees shall determine.”

According to published reports, the trustees of Leona Helmsley’s trust have only given away 100,000 dollars to dog-related charities, out of the 450 million dollars they’ve donated so far to charity. That’s only about one-fiftieth of one percent!
Leona Helmsley’s Trust Fund go to Help Dogs

Several notable animal charities, Read more...

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Dennis Hopper Trust: Widow Turns Divorce Battle into New Lawsuit

The divorce contest between the late Dennis Hopper and his wife, Victoria Duffy-Hopper, was ugly when he was alive.  It’s turned even uglier since he’s passed away.  Dennis Hopper Trust

Duffy-Hopper dropped a new bomb on the children of the Easy Rider star, and the Trustees of his Trust, by filing two new lawsuits recently in Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles.

In the cases, she claims that his children wrongfully forced her to move out of Hopper’s house, so they could grab a bigger inheritance at her expense.  She alleges Marin Hopper, one of Hopper’s children from a prior marriage, manipulated, coerced and told Hopper “cruel lies”.  She did this, according to one of the lawsuits, to drive a wedge between the happy couple and force him to file for divorce.

Dennis Hopper Trust

But, the marriage couldn’t have been too happy, since Duffy-Hopper takes aim at her late husband, too.  She asks the Court to invalidate the couple’s premarital agreement, saying that Hopper intimidated, coerced and threatened her until Read more...

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Steve McNair Estate unsettled after one year

It’s been just over a year since Steve McNair, the former NFL quarterback, was murdered on July 4, 2009, at the age of 36.  The Probate Lawyer Blog covered the initial drama surrounding Steve McNair estate in a series of articles.  In the months that have passed since then, the estate has been relatively quiet.  It’s been rather surprising given the early fireworks last summer.Steve McNair Estate

McNair died with an estate worth more than $19 million but without even a basic will.  It looked like trouble initially when his wife named their two kids as estate beneficiaries in the probate paperwork, but failed to list his other two kids (from two other mothers).  The family was far from harmonious even before McNair was killed.

McNair and his wife, Mechelle, had hired an artist to paint a family portrait.  The artist hadn’t been paid and filed a claim against the estate.  Before the estate settled and paid the artist $5,000, she revealed an email from McNair.  He wrote that his “wife Read more...

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Farrah Fawcett trust in the midst of ugly lawsuit

Richard Francis is the trustee of The Fawcett Living Trust, Farrah Fawcett’s trust which details how she wanted her money to pass.  You can read the Probate Lawyer Blog’s prior article discussing this interesting trust here.  

On behalf of the trust, Francis sued Hollywood producer Craig Nevius accusing him of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Fawcett’s company and botching production of a television documentary showing her struggles with cancer.

Nevius is not taking the lawsuit lying down.  In fact, he says the entire case is a thinly-disguised attempt by Francis to use money from Fawcett’s trust to protect his own interests.  Nevius had already sued Francis, as well as Ryan O’Neal (Fawcett’s longtime companion) and her friend Alana Stewart when Nevius felt they wrongly excluded him from producing the documentary, which aired on NBC in May of 2009.  In other words, Nevius says that this lawsuit by Francis is retaliation to get back at him for his lawsuit.

But, that’s just the beginning of the fireworks.  Nevius

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Anna Nicole Smith Estate loses out on $88 Million

Can the Granddaddy of all probate disputes finally be nearing an end?  Those in charge of the Anna Nicole Smith Estate certainly hope not.  Smith, also known as Vickie Lynn Marshall, battled for a share of her late husband’s multi-billion dollar estate for almost 12 years before she died.  Here’s the Probate Lawyer Blog’s discussion of the case to bring you up to speed. 

To cut to the chase, Smith was broken hearted when she didn’t inherit anything from the estate or trust of J. Howard Marshall II, her late husband (who was more than 60 years older than she was).  Smith filed legal claims seeking a piece of his fortune in two different states; she lost in Texas but won in California.  Her victory was snatched away by the federal court of appeals, but she found new hope when that ruling was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 2006.  Yes, that’s right, the highest court in our land ruled in favor of the ex-Playboy Playmate.

But, now,

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The Redd Foxx Estate mess

There was an interesting article recently in AOL News about the Redd Foxx Estate.  The successful comedian and star of Sanford and Son (whose real name was John Elroy Sanford) died October 11, 1991.  Apparently, the Estate has no assets.  Even if it did, there’s an outstanding tax bill owed that’s a bit hefty — a whopping $3.6 million as of the day he died.  Redd Foxx estate

But the court-appointed executor for the estate is trying to change all that.  John Cahill, who is a public administrator in Las Vegas (where the estate is pending) was put in charge in 2007.  The prior administrator was Debraca Foxx, Foxx’s daughter, who was removed from her position in 2006.  Apparently, she failed to comply with a court order to account for what she had done with royalties and other monies the estate brought in under her watch.

In fact, Foxx’s widow (and fourth wife), Ka Ho Foxx, accused Debraca of stealing the money instead of paying down the tax debt.

Since Cahill took over,

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Farrah Fawcett’s Trust Provides A Good Lesson

It’s been widely reported across various websites in the last couple days that Farrah Fawcett’s will has been revealed and it “shockingly” disinherited her longtime ex-boyfriend Ryan O’Neal (father to her son, Redmond).  These reports are wrong on several levels.  Farrah Fawcett's Trust

First, the document was her Trust, not her will.  You can read it here, courtesy of Radaronline.com.  This is an important distinction.  Wills are public records and must always be filed in probate to be effective, which allows anyone interested to read them.  Trusts, on the other hand, are private documents, normally kept out of court and the public eye.

As I wrote in this article this past July, the contents of Farrah Fawcett’s Trust were leaked by an anonymous “source” then, and now the whole trust document has been revealed.  This is unusual.  Normally that is one of the primary reasons why trusts are used, to keep affairs private (and out of probate court).

As the source previously leaked to the media (and as covered in my article

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Bo Schembechler’s Son Sues His Stepmom Over Trust

Glenn E. “Bo” Schembechler, Jr., is one of the most respected names in the history of college football.  And, no, I’m not saying that just because I graduated from the University of Michigan (twice).  He built one of the most successful football programs around, and it excelled for decades.Bo_Schembechler

Coach Bo died of heart disease on November 17, 2006, at age 77.  He was survived by his second wife, Kathryn, his son, Glenn III, and two children of his beloved first wife, Millie, whom Bo had adopted (a third adopted son died before him).

From an estate planning perspective, Bo did everything right to avoid a family fight after he passed.  He created a living trust, which was quite detailed and left the income from his assets to his wife, Kathryn, passing from there to his son Glenn III (known as “Shemy”), and then onto his grandchildren and Kathryn’s grandchildren.

He chose Kathryn as his successor trustee to manage his trust after he passed.  As part of this responsibility, Kathryn

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Katherine Jackson’s Shocking Change Of Heart

The Michael Jackson Estate has been the subject of regular court hearings as Katherine Jackson battled for control over the last several months.  She routinely objected to the decisions of the co-executors John Branca and John McClain.  Recently, she hired a new attorney with the promise of taking the case in a new direction, as I discussed in this recent article about the Michael Jackson case.

Michael Jackson Trial and Heirs

Her case took a new direction, all right.  She decided to drop her claim.  That’s right, she stopped fighting and agreed to let the executors run the show without her.

Surprised?  I was.  And I was far from the only one.  Here’s what a lawyer in the case said about Katherine Jackson’s change of heart, according to CNN:

“She has now reneged on her obligation to her family.”  This same lawyer then said that it was “one of the most despicable displays” he’d ever seen in court.  He even accused Katherine of colluding with the estate executors in a “secret deal”.

So who

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