Estate of Denial news clips (week of 7/26/15)

Trustee being sued by Tom Benson argues Saints, Pelicans owner still isn’t proposing fair asset swap with relatives (TX/LA)

The New Orleans Advocate

July 26, 2015

The lawyer who has so far thwarted Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson’s attempts to cut his estranged relatives out of his business empire continues to argue that Benson hasn’t put up enough cash or other assets to compensate them for being pushed aside.


Disability funds for 11 million people would run out in final days of 2016 election

Washington Examiner

July 26, 2015

Democrats and Republicans will have to find agreement on shoring up funds for Social Security disability, or 10.9 million beneficiaries will face steep benefit cuts just as the 2016 elections are in their last days.

That was the message sent by the program’s board of trustees this week, in its annual snapshot of the program’s finances.


Ernie Banks’ estranged wife: He signed a will days after dementia diagnosis (IL)

Chicago Tribune

July 28, 2015

Cubs great Ernie Banks had been diagnosed with moderate to severe dementia days before his caretaker arranged for him to sign a will at a suburban attorney’s office that cut his family out of his estate and left everything to her, Banks’ estranged wife alleges in a new court filing.


Disinherited daughter payout paves way for wills challenge (IRELAND)

Belfast Telegraph

July 28, 2015

Heather Ilott has been awarded £164,000 by the Court of Appeal following a lengthy legal battle after she was initially left nothing by her mother M elita Jackson, who died in July 2004 at 70.


Families Go to Battle in Probate Court, Only to Leave Without Anything (TX)

Houston Press

July 28, 2015

In October 2007, Willie Jo Mills of Houston suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of her body. A widow with two daughters and a son, the 80-year-old woman was prescribed a variety of pain medications, but doctors couldn’t find the right cocktail.

Six months later, Mills’s son Larry filed an application with the Harris County Probate Court to become his mom’s legal guardian. Mills’s youngest daughter, Sherry Johnston, who wasn’t getting along with Larry, contested her brother’s guardianship request. With the case at a standstill, Judge Christine Riddle Butts, one of the newest of Harris County’s four elected probate judges, selected the third-party guardians David R. Dexel, a Houston-based attorney, and Ginger Lott, a certified guardian in Texas, as Mills’s legal caretakers.


Billionaire’s ex not ‘credible’ as advocate for daughter in probate battle (CA)

July 28, 2015

A judge Tuesday rejected a bid by an ex-wife of the late Kirk Kerkorian to be named a court-appointed advocate for her 17-year-old daughter while the late casino tycoon’s estate is probated.


Tycoon’s daughters must wait ten years to inherit his $20m fortune – but can earn early bonuses by marrying early, having children in wedlock and going to a good school (NY)

July 27, 2015

A late New York City real estate mogul has left his two daughters a combined inheritance of $20million, but they can only collect it under his strict terms. 


Magnuson son sues siblings over estate (WA)

The Spokesman-Review

July 24, 2015

A son of the late Silver Valley mining magnate Harry Magnuson is suing three siblings for allegedly writing him out of their mother’s will and misusing money from the family’s trust account.


Who will inherit Whitney Houston’s millions?

USA Today

July 27, 2015

Now that Bobbi Kristina Brown is gone, six months after she mysteriously fell into unconsciousness, what happens to the estate she was to inherit from her late mother, Whitney Houston?

Who will control the estimated millions Houston left in a trust for Bobbi Kristina in her will?


Oil Heir Tells Texas High Court Dallas DA Wronged Him (TX)

July 28, 2015

Law360, Houston (July 28, 2015, 6:36 PM ET) — Hunt Oil Co. heir Al Hill III has asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to throw out criminal mortgage fraud charges filed against him, arguing that a malicious prosecution charge against the Dallas district attorney was wrongly thrown out.


Family of late black golf great accused of $1 million theft (OH)

Yahoo! News

July 28, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) — The son and ex-daughter-in-law of late black golf pioneer Charlie Sifford were indicted Tuesday on charges they stole more than $1 million from him.


Statesboro attorney alleges assault by an Effingham Probate Court clerk (GA)

Savannah Morning News

July 29, 2015

A Statesboro attorney says he was assaulted by an Effingham Probate Court clerk during a temporary guardianship case in what was his “worst day in court ever.”


Colorado lawmaker pledges probate reform after hearing victim stories

The Denver Post

July 29, 2015

A state senator plans to introduce legislation next year that would provide greater protection to families who saw their estates diminished or wiped out by court-appointed fiduciaries.


California Supreme Court: Wills may be amended after death

July 29, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The California Supreme Court says wills may be amended after death if there is clear evidence they don’t accurately reflect their authors’ wishes.


England: testamentary freedom diminished as judges overturn will that would leave daughter penniless

Scottish Legal News

July 29, 2015

More wills are expected to be challenged after judges in the Court of Appeal overturned a woman’s attempt to disinherit her only daughter and leave her entire estate to animal charities The Times reports.


Baby one of several heirs of murdered West Vancouver millionaire: lawyer (CAN)

July 29, 2015

VANCOUVER — It appears a baby girl possibly fathered by a murdered West Vancouver millionaire will have to share the fortune with siblings.

The girl’s mother, Xuan Yang, has claimed in court documents that her daughter is sole heir to the $50-million estate of Gang Yuan.


Hated daughter-in-law inherits Astor family’s $14.5M (NY)

New York Post

July 30, 2015

Charlene Marshall, who was once derided as “Miss Piggy” for the way she treated her late mother-in-law, Brooke Astor, was laughing all the way to the bank Wednesday after a judge ruled she is entitled to what’s left of the famous Manhattan philanthropist’s fortune — $14.5 million.


Indictment Describes Long-Running Elder Abuse, Theft Scheme Against Late Golfer Charlie Sifford (OH)

Cleveland Scene

July 30, 2015

Craig and Sandra Sifford, the son and daughter-in-law of the late golfer Charlie Sifford, were indicted this week for stealing upwards of $1 million from Charlie’s personal financial accounts before he died.


Cleveland attorney who stole $115,000 from client’s estate gets one day in jail (OH)

July 29, 2015

AKRON, Ohio — An 84-year-old attorney who stole $115,000 from a client’s estate was sentenced Wednesday to one day in jail.

Gerald Cooper, a Pepper Pike resident who practiced in Cleveland for 57 years, originally faced a 15- to 21-month prison sentence.


Margaret Hunt Hill’s Heirs Are Still Fighting About Money, Making Judge Sad (TX)

Dallas Observer

July 31, 2015

Dallas oil heiress/philanthropist/bridge-to-somewhere’s namesake Margaret Hunt Hill died in 2007 at the age of 91. Shortly after, her grandson Al Hill III became sort-of famous for filing a lawsuit against his own father, his aunts and his siblings, as families tend to do when there is a multi-billion-dollar trust at stake.  A detailed 2008 Vanity Fair article on the lawsuit reported on Hill III’s many allegations against his own family — his relatives “have conspired to destroy two family trusts, sell off their largest holding, Hunt Petroleum, and ‘steal for themselves the value of the trusts’ assets … When he himself balked at this plan, he alleges, he was subjected to a ‘shameless campaign of non-disclosure, browbeating, threats, and dirty tricks.’”


Ex-Probate Court clerk Kim Birge admits stealing $232,000 in abuse of court position (GA)

Savannah Morning News

July 31, 2015

Former longtime Chatham County Probate Court Chief Clerk Kim Birge on Friday pleaded guilty to stealing $232,000 from the court as part of a scheme in which the government said she stole more than $750,000 over a three-year period.


Saints, Pelicans owner Tom Benson’s control over Texas assets challenged, defended (TX/LA)

The Times Picayune

July 31, 2015

The family hostility surrounding Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his jilted heirs isn’t enough for a court to prevent the 87-year-old billionaire from controlling his only surviving child’s trust fund, including cutting off $10,000 monthly payments to Renee Benson, his lawyers argued in a brief filed this week.


Judge Approves $1.25 Million Settlement Agreement Against Estate Of Tony Scott (CA)

Santa Monica Mirror

July 29, 2015

A probate court judge approved a $1.25 million settlement of a lawsuit filed against the estate of the late director Tony Scott by Creative Artists Agency, court papers obtained Tuesday show.


EXCLUSIVE: How Pat Houston’s ‘Sweet Sixteen’ themed funeral for Bobbi Kristina and a dispute over her $20m inheritance is dividing the family – with Dionne Warwick threatening to BOYCOTT the ceremony

July 30, 2015

Dionne Warwick is threatening to boycott Bobbi Kristina Brown’s funeral because of a bitter disagreement over plans drawn up by Bobbi Kristina’s aunt, Pat Houston.

And while the Brown and Houston families have tried to maintain a united front since Bobbi Kristina’s death last Sunday, Daily Mail Online can reveal that the families are, in reality, riven by in-fighting over Pat Houston’s funeral plans, her attempts to solicit money in Bobbi Kristina’s name and what will become of Bobbi Kristina’s $20million inheritance.