Top Four Estate Disputes of 2016 by Kevin Staker
Several famous people left behind a mess in their estate planning, or better put, lack of estate planning.
The famous author died in 2013 but the fight over his estate, estimated at $80 million, came to a head in 2016. The issue was who should pay the estate tax. His widow just clearly not liable but the question was whether his two children with the widow would bear some of the tax or would only his four children from before would pay all of $11.85 million. They lost. Pity the poor attorney who drafted the codicil at issue. He even testified this is not what Clancy intended. Rather pity his malpractice carrier.
The Miami Marlins crashed his boat in the middle of the night. Appears his mother is sole beneficiary of his trust. His girlfriend, pregnant with his child apparently, gets nothing. However, likely child can argue “pretermitted” status, in other words forgotten in plan, and so would likely get half.
Frank Sinatra, Jr.
The son of Ol’ Blue Eyes, the Chairman of the Board, died in March 2016. What a mess. Divorced wife in 2001, but continued to live together. In 2013, when here stopped paying alimony, she filed for divorce arguing they had a common law marriage. She was correct under Texas law, assume that is where they lived. California no such thing. He appealed. Then died. Appeals court ruled not a common law marriage; keys: filed separate tax returns and bought home as tenants in common. Could have been avoided by following advice of attorney.
This is the worst one. Prince dies without a Will in April. Apparently he would have intended estate to go only to his youngest sister. Instead she has to share with his five half-siblings he apparently was not fond of. Yikes!
Please go see an attorney and get your estate planning done.
By Kevin Staker