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Disagreement among executors & fiduciaries of Rooney's will

Earlier this month, the children of the late actor Mickey Rooney filed suit in a Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to have their father's will invalidated because of undue influence he might have encountered during the last weeks of his life when he supposedly signed the document. According to the lawsuit filed May 7, Rooney's biological children are not named in the will; rather it is Rooney's stepson who is named as the beneficiary.

Rooney's children say that the stepson exerted undue influence on persuading their father to convey his estate to the stepson which is currently valued at $18,000. The potential value of the estate may increase in the future because of licensing rights and memorabilia.

Out of the eight biological Rooney children, seven of them are signatories to the lawsuit and say that although the stepson was Rooney's caretaker during the actor's final years, he and a court-appointed conservator of Rooney's estate took advantage of Rooney's advanced age and had him wholly under their influence with regard to the signing of the will. Mickey Rooney was 93 years old when he died April 6.

In a competing lawsuit, Rooney's wife is also calling the probate of the will into question. According to her attorney, the terms of the agreement between her and Rooney were misquoted in the will. She is of the opinion that due to the couple's marriage of almost 40 years, she is entitled to one half interest of all community property. That would include any future revenue from licensing rights, an Oscar and other noteworthy memorabilia.

The death of a person can bring about contentious fights even when there is a will in place. Careful estate planning concluded while individuals still have control of their faculties is crucial in minimizing discord among executors and fiduciaries and providing for a smoother conveyance of property and assets.

Source: People Magazine, "Mickey Rooney's Children Challenge His Will in Court" Champ Clark, May. 15, 2014

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