Estate of Denial news clips (12/13/15 – 12/19/15)

Tom Benson offers to resign as trustee in Texas family dispute (TX/LA)

New Orleans Times-Picayune

December 14, 2015

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson offered Monday (Dec. 14) to resign as trustee of a disputed family trust fund in Texas on the condition that his estranged daughter, Renee Benson, doesn’t take his place.

Tom Benson, 88, filed a petition in Bexar County Probate Court in San Antonio asking for an independent trustee to succeed him as keeper of an account that holds interests in Lone Star Capital Bank, real estate and Benson car dealerships. This case does not involve ownership interests in the NFL and NBA franchises.


Saints owner Tom Benson asks to resign as overseer of daughter’s trust in Texas, wants independent trustee appointed (TX/LA)

The Advocate

December 14, 2015

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson said Monday he is willing to resign as steward of a Texas trust benefiting his daughter, who earlier this year sued to have him removed from that capacity.

While the trust’s bylaws state that Benson’s daughter Renee is to inherit control of the fund if her father steps down, Benson said in a Bexar County, Texas, Probate Court filing that his resignation would not go into effect unless a judge appoints an independent party to oversee the trust.


Sumner Redstone’s Ex-Girlfriend Back In Court, Trying to Control His Care


December 14, 2015

Sumner Redstone’s former girlfriend returned to court Monday to press her case to take control of health care decisions for the entertainment magnate, contending that those around the billionaire have misrepresented the severity of his decline and even forged his signature on one document as they improperly took control of his life.

Lawyers for Manuela Herzer demanded to take depositions of Redstone, two of his doctors and to have a geriatric expert examine him for an hour,  in an attempt to prove that Herzer should be re-appointed as health care agent for the Viacom and CBS chairman. The filing Monday in probate court in downtown Los Angeles says a review of the 92-year-old’s mental state and the other depositions would be limited and take a total of seven hours.


Court was right to nix $12M will payout to drafting lawyer but should have resurrected prior bequest (FL)

ABA Journal

December 14, 2015

A Florida probate court properly invalidated a 1994 will that largely left an elderly woman’s $12 million estate to the drafting attorney and two others, including his legal assistant.

However, it erred by ruling that Virginia Murphy’s assets should be distributed under intestacy provisions, a Florida appellate court ruled (PDF) last month.

That’s because Murphy, who executed half a dozen wills with the help of her longtime lawyer, Jack Carey, during a five-year period before her 2006 death at age 107, clearly did not want to die intestate.


Billionaire Benson wants ‘neutral’ party overseeing trust (TX/LA)

San Antonio Express-News

December 15, 2015

Attorneys representing billionaire Tom Benson filed a petition Monday seeking to have a neutral trustee appointed to oversee the Shirley Benson Testamentary Trust, which is at the center of a family dispute.

Last December, a family split occurred and Benson notified his daughter, Renee Benson, and her children, Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc, that he did not want to see them again. Since then, the relatives have been involved in litigation, including challenging Benson’s competency, over the trust named for his first wife, which is estimated to be worth nearly $1 billion.


Wife of Former NBA Star Lamar Odom Retains Power Over Health Care Decisions

Law Firm News Wire

December 15, 2015

Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 14, 2015 – The importance of having a living will was revealed when former NBA star Lamar Odom was hospitalized, and it was reported that his wife, Khloe Kardashian, from whom he is estranged, still has power over his health care decisions.

Although divorce papers were signed in July, they are considered to be married because the California Courts have not yet processed the divorce papers.

This situation is not preferred because it is unlikely that Lamar wished to have Kardashian be the person in charge of making decisions concerning his health care. However, without a living will, she is the only person who can make such decisions for him. It is also advisable that Lamar have a Power of Attorney for Health Care so that an agent of his own choosing can make health care decisions in the event that he is incapacitated, and unable to make such decisions for himself.


Thomas Boggs’ Estate Settles Claims With Woman Who Claimed Relationship (D.C.)

The National Law Journal

December 15, 2015

The family of Thomas Boggs Jr. has settled a court fight over his estate with a Washington-area realtor who said she had a romantic and business relationship with the late superlobbyist.

The Boggs family spent the past year embroiled in litigation with realtor Janine Davey Waxman, who claimed her romantic relationship with Boggs in the late 1990s evolved into a business partnership that entitled her to a piece of his estate.


Kyle Navin, Charged With Killing Parents, Makes Court Appearance (CT)

Hartford Courant

December 16, 2015

BRIDGEPORT — As he walked into a courtroom Wednesday, Kyle Navin nodded and smiled to his girlfriend’s relatives sitting in the front row.

In a one-minute appearance, Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin continued the double murder case until Jan. 20 at which point Navin and his attorney, Eugene Riccio, will have to inform the court whether they want to have a probable cause hearing. At that hearing the state would have to present some of the evidence it accumulated before charging Navin with murdering his parents, Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin.


South Dakota estate planner gets over 3 years in prison in fraud case


December 16, 2015

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota man who for years told people how to manage their money has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison in a fraud case.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Jeffrey Viken has sentenced 58-year-old Randall McKee. The estate planner and Sioux Falls resident was also ordered to pay more than $685,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud.


N.J. Supreme Court rebukes lawyer who borrowed most of elderly client’s savings

December 16, 2015

TRENTON — The state Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a stern rebuke to a Hasbrouck Heights attorney who violated ethics rules while borrowing money from an elderly client.

The court found William J. Torre caused “substantial” financial and psychological harm to the 86-year old woman, identified in the decision as “M.D.,” by borrowing more than 70 percent of her life savings when he ran into financial trouble.