Dennis Hopper Feed

Forbes: Celebrity Death and Divorce Train Wrecks

Forbes.com recently featured an article we wrote about our celebrity-based Trial & Heirs' Top Five Estate Planning Tips for Divorcees.  Here's a shortened version.  Go to Forbes.com for the full article: Forbes_home_logo

1. Update your will and/or trust. Life events like divorces are a critical time to update all estate planning documents with an experienced attorney.

Take the case of Gary Coleman.  Since his death, a variety of documents have surfaced purporting to be his will.  We know that Gary Coleman was divorced in 2008 from his wife, Shannon Price.  It was on an episode of Divorce Court after all!  The problem is that Price claims that she's entitled to inherit all of Coleman's assets based on a 2007 handwritten will and as his "common-law wife."  Now it looks like the estate will be tied up in a long and nasty fight.  If Gary Coleman had an estate planning attorney draft a clear will after his divorce, the impending legal battle may have been avoided.

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Dennis Hopper's wife to continue fight into probate court

The recent legal battles between the ailing Dennis Hopper and his wife in divorce court have been well-documented.  Here are the Probate Lawyer Blog's articles covering the case, including the Top Ten most hurtful allegations lobbed back and forth (a serious must-read!). Dennis_Hopper

Now that Hopper has passed on due to his prostate cancer, on May 29th, at age 74, TMZ.com is reporting that his widow is already gearing up to challenge his estate in probate court.  Victoria Duffy-Hopper claimed that Hopper's divorce filing was motivated by an effort to cut her out of his estate plan.

Reportedly, the couple's prenuptial agreement calls for her to get 25% of his estate and $250,000 in life insurance proceeds, as long as they were both married and living together.  Because the divorce was not finalized when he died, they were still married (even though they were separated).  But, were they living together?

Duffy-Hopper (according to TMZ) is prepared to challenge the prenup in probate court and will argue they were "living together" because she lived in a house on his property (separate from his house though).

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Dennis Hopper's deathbed divorce battle getting uglier

Actor Dennis Hopper, at 73 years of age, is dying from cancer.  To make matters worse, he is battling in a nasty divorce that pits his three adult children, from prior marriages, against his wife, Victoria Duffy-Hopper (she's number five for Hopper, if you're keeping score), over whether she'll inherit anything when he passes.  Here is The Probate Lawyer Blog's prior article on the case.Dennis_hopper_duffy

ABC News posted its Top Ten "most hurtful accusations" from the court fight, including:

  • Hopper's assistant claimed Duffy-Hopper threatened to kill her.
  • Duffy-Hopper called Hopper an abuser who once threatened that "something bad is going to happen to you and you won't see it coming".
  • Hopper accused his wife of stealing millions worth of artwork and other valuables from him, and from secretly taking away their young daughter, preventing him from having a final Christmas with her.
  • Hopper's daughter, Marin Hopper (who is six years older than her "step-mother"), feels frightened for her safety because of Duffy-Hopper.
  • Duffy-Hopper claims that Marin and the other adult children coerced Dennis Hopper into filing the divorce by taking advantage of him when he was legally incapable of managing his affairs.

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Dennis Hopper battling his wife; says she's after his will

Dennis Hopper was already fighting against advanced prostate cancer.  Now the 73-year-old actor is turning up the heat in his battle against his wife, 41-year-old Victoria.  He filed for divorce in January, and according to published reports, the key factor is his will.Dennis and Victoria Hopper

Victoria is a 25% beneficiary under Hopper's will.  But, in the case of divorce, the couple's prenuptial agreement says that she gets nothing.  And that's the sole motivating factor behind the divorce, according to Victoria.  She blames his three children from a prior marriage and says that Dennis is not making rational decisions, due in large part to the medication he's taking.

In other words, she says it's all about the estate planning. 

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