For New Yorkers who are well-known and wealthy, it is important to keep track of how estate plans can spark a legal dispute among heirs if the document is not crafted properly. Prominent entertainers bring joy to their fans and earn large sums of money for their efforts. After they have died, it is not uncommon for their relatives to disagree about how their legacy will be handled. Unfortunately, this is frequently related to money. When a family member is trying to address a disagreement about a will or a trust, having legal advice from a law firm that is experienced in estate lawsuits and negotiations is vital.
A pending court battle centers around the estate of the late musician Tom Petty. Mr. Petty’s widow and his two daughters from a prior relationship are in dispute about the widow’s role as the trustee to his estate. According to the widow, the daughters are hindering her attempts to manage the estate. She asks the court to put in place an operating agreement to name a manager who will have authority over any significant decision made regarding the estate’s assets. The decisions would need a consensus among the three women so her decisions cannot be overridden.
In addition, the widow says that one daughter was abusive to her and others who worked for Mr. Petty including band members, his recording labels, and his management. Her behavior is said to be preventing several albums from being released. The daughter also filed a petition saying that the widow was preventing the daughters from taking part in decisions regarding the estate. They are at odds over an LLC that was formed to split his artistic properties. The daughter says it was not funded by using trust assets and this is being done intentionally.
Although estate disputes that reach the media and are discussed publicly often center around the wealthy and famous, it can happen to anyone whether they are of significant means or not. Compounding a loved one’s death with a legal dispute over their assets and how they will be handled makes the situation worse, but sometimes it is unavoidable. If a court battle between heirs is needed to settle the matter, having legal advice is imperative. An estate planning law firm can help people get through estate litigation and should be called for a consultation on how to proceed.