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August 2011

July 2011

Rosa Parks Trust and Estate Tied Up In Lengthy Court Fight

Civil rights icon Rosa Parks passed away at the age of 92 on October 25, 2005, in Detroit, Michigan. Almost six years later, her legacy is still tied up in a lengthy court battle.  The case features allegations of abuse, cronyism and corruption by the probate judge as well as the two lawyers he appointed to oversee the estate and trust.   Rosa Parks bus

It also involves who will receive all of the considerable civil rights memorabilia owned by Rosa Parks when she was alive, and even the rights to use her name and likeness.

Parks' will and trust left the majority of her assets to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, operated by Rosa Parks' longtime friend, Elaine Steele.  Parks and Steele had formed this Institute.  Steele says she was close to Parks for 45 years and that Parks looked at her as the "daughter she never had."

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More Legal Fireworks Involving Farrah Fawcett's Trust

Ryan O'Neal is at it again.  He and Craig Nevius, a Hollywood producer who used to work closely with Farrah Fawcett, are in the midst of more legal fighting against one another.   Farrah-Fawcett-by-Andy-Warhol

Initially, they both sued, each claiming the other had exploited Fawcett while she was sick from the cancer that claimed her life.  Why?  They both said the other had taken advantage of her to produce a documentary about her life and her sickness.  Those lawsuits ended when Nevius ran out of money for legal fees.

Now, he has no choice but to continue fighting.  Ryan O'Neal -- Farrah's ex and father to Farrah's son -- has sued Nevius again.  What's at stake this time?  It's all about the art.

Specifically, a certain, famed Andy Warhol painting of Fawcett in O'Neal's possession. O'Neal says Warhol gave it to him years ago.  Not everyone thinks he's being honest though.

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National Television Show Will Help Protect Family Fortunes

After months and months of preparation, this weekend we taped our television show, Trial & Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune!  Our show will premiere in Michigan on August 9th at 8 p.m. EST and air on PBS affiliates around the country in November and December.  PBS will also stream the broadcast online for the premiere, through, so that everyone would have an opportunity to view the show in August.   Danielle-Andy-film-their-national-TV-special-300x225

The taping included our show with a live studio audience (they were wonderful!), DVD extras from the two of us, and an interview with Ray Charles, Jr.

Ray shared some touching stories about his famous father as well as the private pain that his father’s estate has caused his family.  Ray’s full interview, including some never-before-told stories, will be available as one of the DVD extras.

We share some behind-the-scenes pictures from our production on our Trial & Heirs Facebook page.  If you’re not already a member of our Facebook page, make sure to “like” it so that you receive the latest from us!

Andy and Danielle with Ray Charles, Jr. Our television special is based on our book, Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! In the show, we use high-profile celebrity stories, like Sonny Bono, Marlon Brando, Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and James Brown, to educate people about wills, trusts and estate planning. The TV special will also help raise money to support the wonderful cause of public television, which needs pledge donations now more than ever with federal funding cuts.

With different pledge amounts, viewers can receive the DVD of the show with DVD extras from us as well as our full interview with Ray; a copy of our book, Trial & Heirs; and our brand new Estate Planning Organizer to help you, your family, and your clients.

We hope that all of you join us for the exciting premiere of Trial & Heirs:  Protect Your Family Fortune! on WTVS Channel 56 and, August 9th at 8pm EST!

By Danielle and Andy Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, husband-and-wife legacy expert attorneys, and hosts of the national TV special, Trial & Heirs:  Protect Your Family Fortune! The charismatic duo has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Forbes, ABC’s Live Well Network, and FOX and NBC affiliates.  They’ve lent their expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Kiplinger, and The Washington Post, among many others.  Danielle and Andy delight audiences nationwide with highly entertaining and informative presentations, dishing the dirt on celebrity estate battles while dispensing important legal information to help people avoid family fights among their heirs.

For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, subscribe to The Trial and Heirs Update at

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Dennis Hopper Trust Battle Getting Nastier

Celebrity heirs fighting over the estate is far from uncommon … the Trial & Heirs Blog never has a shortage of material to cover. But, it is unusual when an ugly court battle starts before the celebrity dies and then only continues to grow more heated as time passes. That certainly has been the case with the Dennis Hopper Estate.   Dennis_hopper_duffy

The Easy Rider star filed for divorce from his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy-Hopper, in January, 2010. Victoria is about six years younger than Dennis’ oldest child, daughter Marin Hopper. The two have been feuding for some time now.

As explained in this prior Dennis Hopper article from Trial & Heirs, Victoria claims that Dennis’ children put him up to the divorce, manipulated him, and that he didn’t really want to divorce her. These claims were a bit at odds with other allegations she made in her lawsuits, including that Dennis Hopper was abusive and controlling of her during their marriage. So were they happily married or not?

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