Tag Archives: Wills

Michael Jackson Estate Battles – the Year in Review

The one year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s shocking death on June 25, 2009 is upon us. While his music and thriller dance moves live on, unfortunately, so do the legal battles over his estate.  Let’s moonwalk backwards through the past 12 months to review the courtroom clashes and combative issues involving the King of Pop’s estate.

June 25, 2009 – Michael Jackson unexpectedly diesMichael Jackson Trial and Heirs at the age of 50 as he is about to embark on a comeback concert tour.

June 29 – Katherine and Joe Jackson, Michael’s parents, file to open the probate estate of Michael.  They allege that he died without a will and ask for Katherine to be appointed to administer his estate.  Katherine filed to be appointed as guardian of Michael’s three children the same day and is granted temporary authority to assume custody of them.

July 1 – John Branca, Michael’s former attorney, and John McClain, his former manager, file their own probate petition, asking the Judge to appoint them as executors of Michael’s estate

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Gary Coleman Estate: More wills … and yes, more fighting

The craziness surrounding the Gary Coleman estate, a mere two weeks after he passed, continues to grow.  We now have not one — but two — new wills that recently surfaced.Gary Coleman Estate

As The Probate Lawyer Blog recently discussed, Coleman’s ex-wife, Shannon Price, produced a new handwritten codicil (meaning a will amendment) that favors her.  Dated about one week after the couple married in 2007, the document, in Coleman’s handwriting, spelled out that everything should pass to Price.

TMZ has obtained and posted a copy of the handwritten will.  One part of it is very interesting:

“I have made this change of free will and and was not coerced in any way.  This I have done because of my personal selfishness and weakness and I love her with all of my heart.”

Why would Coleman feel the need to spell this out if there was no question of coercion?  And what did he mean by “selfishness and weakness”?  Did it have anything to do with the fact that Coleman 

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More fireworks for the Gary Coleman Estate

The Probate Lawyer Blog posed the question a few days ago:  Will there be a fight over Gary Coleman’s estate?  It looks like we have an answer — a resounding “Yes!”.Willis-and-arnold

And it all centers around Gary Coleman’s final wishes.  The 1999 will has been released.  You can download Gary Coleman’s Will (courtesy of TMZ).

It’s very brief (all of a page and a half), and it appoints his friend Dion Mial as executor and directs that all of his assets be turned over to a trust he created called the Millennium Edge Trust.

It also states that he should be cremated and that only those with no “financial ties” to him be invited to his wake.  Coleman wants them to “look each other in the eyes and say they really cared personally for Gary Coleman.”  And no members of the press are invited!

Based on this language, ex-wife Shannon Price may not be included.  It sure looks like she has financial ties to him — at least, if

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Will there be a fight over Gary Coleman’s estate?

Gary Coleman died just over a week ago, on May 28, 2010.  And in that week, there have already been enough surprises to spark a whole series of “Whatcha talkin ’bout Willis!”‘s.  Coleman and Price

First came the question of how Gary Coleman died at the age of 42.  According to the 911 tapes, Shannon Price (who called herself his wife) summoned emergency personnel when he fell and hit his head.  She was frantic over what to do with her “husband”.

Sadly, he didn’t recover from the accident, despite being “conscious and lucid” the next morning, according to a Provo, Utah hospital spokesman.  He took a turn for the worse and was put on life support until Price decided to pull the plug, only two days after he hit his head.

Coleman’s parents were bothered after they learned of his death from the media.  Of course, these parents weren’t exactly close with their son.  He had successfully sued them in 1989, claiming they had stolen much of his earnings as a childhood star

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Kiplinger’s article: Cut the Lawyer out of your Will?

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine has an interesting article that’s coming out in the March 2010 issue, about do-it-yourself estate planning.  It was written by Jane Bennett Clark, Senior Associate Editor:

You’ve been dragging your feet for ages on writing a will and drawing up other estate-planning documents. Now, to avoid the hassle and expense of hiring a lawyer, you’re considering using online forms to get the job done. Companies such as Nolo, LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer allow you to do just that. Not only do they provide do-it-yourself estate-planning documents, but they also offer guidance on filling them out and general information on estate-planning issues.

The cost for such off-the-rack estate planning? As little as $50 for a simple will to $220 or so for a package that includes a will and a living trust. That’s cheap compared with the $300 a lawyer might charge for a simple will or the $1,000 or more that a comprehensive estate plan might run you. Still, you get what you pay for, says

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Stieg Larsson: The Author who Played with Fire

Swedish author Stieg Larsson never lived to see his creations gain worldwide success.  He died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 50 in 2004, before his first novel, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was published.  His three novels — which comprise the Millennium trilogy — have sold 50 million copies worldwide.  The Swedish movies based on the books have also been very popular, including the second installment, The Girl Who Played With Fire, which was released in the U.S. in 2010.  Stieg Larsson

In fact, U.S.A. Today recently named Larsson as its 2010 Author of the Year.

Stieg Larsson was never married and had no children.  He also didn’t have a will.  So his brother and father have been the ones to manage — and of course profit from — his now very-wealthy estate.

But, there is some drama to this story.  While not married, Larsson did leave behind a sambo. What’s a sambo?  It’s a Swedish term for a live-in partner, like a common-law

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