The Detroit Free Press featured an article recently about the lawsuits surrounding the estate of the late owner of the Detroit Pistons, Bill Davidson. You can read our prior article about the estate here.
The estate of the late William Davidson has been the target of at least three lawsuits seeking to wrest at least $20 million from the fortune left by the billionaire businessman and owner of the Detroit Pistons -- a hazard that one attorney said is the result of being very rich and dead.
Of the three suits filed in Oakland County Circuit Court, all have been quietly settled, according to court records and attorneys involved. Details of the settlements have not been revealed.
Forbes magazine had estimated Bill Davidson's fortune in 2009 at $5.5 billion.
With an estate that big, it's no surprise that fights would arise over it, said Andrew Mayoras, a Troy probate litigation attorney who writes a blog on the estate disputes of famous people.
"In this economy, it's more and more common, unfortunately. My practice is just crazy busy and it's been growing every year, and I do think the economy has a lot to do with it," he said.
Estate disputes not a shock
Davidson may have been best known as the owner of the Detroit Pistons basketball team. But he was a billionaire businessman and philanthropist with interests that ranged around the world.
With his complex financial life, perhaps it's no surprise that Davidson's estate has been the focus of lawsuits hoping to get a piece of what Davidson left behind -- a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at about $5.5 billion.
At least three lawsuits have been filed against the estate, and all three have been quietly settled.
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Mayoras and his wife, attorney Danielle B. Mayoras, have written a book called "Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights," detailing the estate battles of Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, and others.
"It's amazing how many celebrities there are where their families are fighting. We've got dozens of them in there (the book), but it only scratches the surface," Mayoras said.
Settlement is usually the best option, he added. "If there is a knock-down drag-out fight all the way to trial, the lawyers win."
Posted by: Andrew W. Mayoras and Danielle B. Mayoras, co-authors of Trial and Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founders 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. Andrew and Danielle are husband and wife attorneys, professional speakers and consultants across the country. Follow us on Facebook and Google+.