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Famous Disputed Estates in the World

In recent times, there have been several famous estates that have been dragged into the courts and newspapers. The reason behind the dispute can vary from intestate death of the owner, to relatives which feel that they have been dealt with unfairly.

Irrespective of what causes the estate to become a subject of judicial trials, it results in significant losses of time and money.

In this article we take you through the famous disputed estates of the world.

Michael Jackson

The family of the King of Pop has been entangled in a mesh of financial and legal disputes ever since the musician passed away in 2009. His siblings were left out of his Will and this had greatly upset them. There was even a bid to proclaim the Will as fake and some of the siblings wrote and signed a letter to make the executors resign.

A lot of argument also took place over who would win the custody of the three children that Michael Jackson left behind. His mother, the children’s grandmother, was given the custody of the three children.

Nelson Mandela

The celebrated freedom fighter and former President of South Africa passed away at the age of 95 leaving absolutely nothing of his estimated £2.5 million estate for his ex-wife Winnie. She wanted to be the owner of the ancestral home of Mandela in Qunu.

There were many family divisions and bickering before Mandela’s death. The extent of rift in the family over the Will can be understood from the fact that there was a court case fought between Mandla, his grandson and 16 other relatives. The relatives were fighting the battle to exhume and rebury the three children of Mandela.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix became a member of the infamous ‘27’ club when he passed away in a London hotel in 1970. The estate of the guitar legend was estimated to have a value of over £62 million but there was no Will that was left behind to guide how the assets would be distributed. As a result the estate was pulled into a legal battle which was fought between his adopted sister and half-brother.

Until 1995, Hendrix’s estate was under the control of a California solicitor but Hendrix’s father decided to fight for the right to his son’s music. The father passed away in 2002 and it was his wish that the estate’s control be given to Janie, Jimi’s adopted sister.

The battle between the siblings took a turn for the worse when Leon demanded that he should be written back into the Will. Leon claimed that Janie had manipulated her father and Janie retorted back alleging Leon of being a drug abuser. In retaliation, Leon made a claim that Janie had spent £1.3 million on her credit card. Ultimately Leon was excluded from the estate as the Superior Court decided to uphold Al’s Will.

Martin Luther King Jr

In 2008, cracks began to surface in the family relationships of Rev King Jr. when a case was brought against their brother by two of his children. The estate’s executor was Dexter King and his siblings, Bernice King and Martin Luther King III, alleged that he had wrongfully appropriated the estate’s funds. Dexter had even refused to share the financial records and documents that detailed the estate’s operations.

In 2009, Dexter brokered a deal with DreamWorks studios which paved the way for a biopic on Rev King Jr’s life. It caused a stir as he had done so without prior consultation with Bernice and Martin III who were not supportive of the deal.

BB King – King of Blues

Long before BB King passed away, the battle for his estate had already begun. Laverne Toney, his long time manager was granted control of his affairs and this did not go down well with his children. King had 11 children and three out of them filed a case to become the executors of the Will and take over guardianship. Despite the many allegations that were made and the attempts to win back control of the estate, a Las Vegas Judge didn’t find any evidence which could prove the misconduct of the manager.

The above is just a small fraction of the countless estates that have been disputed in the past and which continue to remain disputed. For this reason, there should be awareness regarding the importance of writing a Will and crucial questions should be answered such as how much does a Will cost and what happens if you don’t write a Will.

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