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December 2011

Another Lawsuit Brewing Because Martin Luther King, Jr., Died Without A Will

There is no doubt about the greatness of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, his estate planning wasn’t so great.  In fact, King made a mistake that too many people make everyday in our country … he procrastinated with his legal planning and died without a will.   Martin-Luther-King-1964

In large part because of this, his legacy has been marred by fighting among his children over the handling of his estate, including claims of secrecy, mismanagement and misappropriating assets.  Years ago, MLK’s heirs formed a corporation to manage King’s estate, but then they fought over control over the corporation. You can read Trial & Heirs’ coverage of the lawsuit between the King children here.  Luckily, the heirs were able to reach a settlement and ended that round of fighting.

But, that doesn’t mean the court battles have ended.  The corporation which operates the estate turned its attention to a television anchor in Southern Mississippi, named Howard Nelson Ballou.  The Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc., sued Ballou and claimed he has possession of historic documents relating to King.

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Are Bob Marley's Heirs Destroying His Legacy?

While being widely loved for spreading reggae music throughout the world, Bob Marley stood for more than just music. His songs promoted freedom for poor and oppressed people throughout the world, social equality, and justice.  Marley even won the 1978 United Nations Medal of Peace. Bob_Marley_&_The_Wailers

Sadly, events surrounding his estate have been anything but consistent with his musical legacy.  2011 marked the 30-year anniversary of the day Marley died of cancer, at the age of 36, on May 11, 1981.  In those 30 years, his estate has seen far too many court fights, lawsuits and money-grabs to count.  And that legacy of fighting over money doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon.

Just last week, a corporation owned by his widow, Rita Marley, and his nine children, sued Richard Booker and two corporations he owned. Who is Richard Booker?  Bob Marley’s half-brother.  Among other Jamaica-based business ventures, Booker operates musical festivals and a company which gives tours of the village where Marley was born and is now buried.

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Mysteries Surround the $400 Estate of Huguette Clark

Huguette Clark was a mysterious and reclusive New York multi-millionairess who passed away on May 24, 2011, a mere two weeks short of her 105th birthday.   Huguette

Clark was the daughter, and only surviving child, of William Andrews Clark, who died in 1925 and was believed to be one of the richest Americans at the time.  He built his wealth through copper mining and served as a senator of Montana.  For many years, his daughter was thought to have died long ago.  Indeed, Huguette Clark hadn’t been seen in the Fifth Avenue apartment that she lived in (and still owned when she died) in 22 years.

Where was she all that time?  Living in a hospital room, even though she was in good health when she moved there in the late 1980s.  Watched over by a private nurse, her attorney, and an accountant — who was a convicted sex offender — Clark was said to have considered her collection of dolls to be her closest companions.  She was isolated from her family members, and the Manhattan district attorney’s office has spent months in a lengthy criminal investigation over how her attorney, Wallace Bock, and accountant, Irving Kamsler, managed her vast fortune.

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