Ike Turner is considered to be, by many, one of the fathers of rock and roll. While he's best known for his relationship and work with Tina Turner, his 50+ years in the music business has covered virtually every position and rock genre imaginable.
He died of a cocaine overdose at age 76 on December 12, 2007. He left behind several ex-wives (the exact number is up to debate, because he reportedly was married somewhere between 5 and 13 times) as well as six children.
Those children say Ike he died without a will. His final ex-wife, Audrey Madison Turner, says Ike left a handwritten will leaving all to her - after the marriage ended, no less. (Who doesn't leave a handwritten will naming their ex-spouse as sole beneficiary?) The children point to a handwritten note that appeared to revoke that will one month later.
Then there's his former attorney, James Clayton, who says he has the valid will ... yet another hand-written special, leaving all to the attorney with instructions to contact one of his daughters to work out who gets what. But can that document be a valid will when it has the name of Ike's daughter misspelled? That's what this trial, which started September 17th, will sort out.
Given Ike's long and multi-faceted career, including a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1991, you must be thinking that his wanna-be heirs are fighting for millions, right? Not really. According to this article in the North County Times (San Diego), they don't even know what his assets may be worth. Who knows if there will even be enough to pay the hundreds of thousands in legal fees being spent?
Despite the lack of clarity about what they are fighting for, they sure are fighting! One of the attorneys requested extra security for the trial because it's expected to be so heated.
It just goes to show you that family feuds don't always make financial sense. Yet that often doesn't stop families from fighting, especially when there are children from prior marriages battling a step-parent (or sometimes, significant other) from a later relationship. Emotions do tend to boil, to say the least. That's why it's extra important for families facing these court battles to work with experienced will contest lawyers who know how to help people through the emotions, fight when needed and compromise when feasible.
Those who let their emotions get the best of them are often stuck with more in legal fees than they inherit. Hopefully that won't be the case for Ike's family.
Posted by: Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and The Center for Elder Law in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law. You can email him at awmayoras @ brmmlaw.com.Follow us on Google+