Gary Coleman Feed

Court Rules Against Gary Coleman's Ex, Finds She Abused And Cheated On Him

By all accounts, actor Gary Coleman had a difficult life after his days as the childhood star of Diff’rent Strokes.  He was estranged from his parents and died — nearly broke — at the age of 42.  While he was married at one time, he said in a TV interview that he remained a virgin, even after his marriage.  So what kind of marriage was it? GaryColeman_May_2005

Not a very happy one, according to a Utah judge who recently issued a ruling to decide who gets to administer, and ultimately inherit, what little constitutes Gary Coleman’s Estate.  The lawsuit pitted Gary Coleman’s ex-wife, Shannon Price — who said she actually was still his wife until he died — against Coleman’s friend and former head of his corporation, Anna Gray.

In 2005, Gary Coleman signed a will naming Gray as his executor and beneficiary.  But Coleman married Price in 2007, and then signed a handwritten codicil to the will (“codicil” means amendment to a will) in favor of Price that same year.  Interestingly, in the will, Coleman wrote that:

I have made this change of free will and was not coerced in any way.  This I have done because of my personal selfishness and weakness and I love her with all of my heart.

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Pass The Turkey With A Side of Celebrity Estate Planning Stories (Part I)

What family won’t be talking about Kim Kardashian and Michael Jackson at their Thanksgiving dinner? Dishing celebrity dirt is as natural as turkey and pumpkin pie.  But did you ever think that celebrity gossip could actually help your family?   Kim_Kardashian

We use celebrity stories to turn the often-awkward conversation about estate planning into something fun and entertaining.  Let’s face it … no one really likes to think about planning for what happens after they pass away.  But, it’s the family left behind that pays the price when the proper planning isn’t done.

A great way to get the dialogue flowing, and to turn an awkward conversation into something fun and engaging, is with celebrity stories.  What better time to do this than when the family is gathered together for Thanksgiving?

Here is Part 1 (out of 2) to our Trial & Heirs’ Top 5 Celebrity-Based Estate Planning Conversation Starters for Thanksgiving 2011:

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Death of Real Housewives' Russell Armstrong Sparks Family Fight

Russell Armstrong was the 47-year old husband of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Taylor Armstrong.  Tragically, Russell committed suicide on August 15th about one month after  Taylor had filed for divorce.  Russell was reportedly distraught over how the Bravo TV Show was going to portray him in this upcoming season.  His unexpected suicide took his whole family by surprise.   Russell and Taylor Armstrong

The already sad situation turned even uglier a few days ago when attorneys for the family members began to argue, publicly, about his funeral.  Russell’s attorney told numerous media outlets that Taylor had not told Russell’s parents or sister about the burial arrangements.  In fact, he blasted Taylor and her attorney saying:

“I am deeply disgusted that Taylor would use her family law attorney to create cover, by lying to me over a period of days, on her behalf in writing that she would share the funeral location and time with my client’s mother, father, sister and other family members.  Instead, no one has contacted them and it is apparent now that Taylor is using this death to further injure the Armstrongs.  As if filing for divorce was not enough, this act of cutting out his mom, dad, and sister is frankly, despicable.”

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Gary Coleman's Ex-Wife Wants His Ashes For Her Neck

Shannon Price and Gary Coleman enjoyed a brief, but love-filled marriage until they divorced in 2008.  How do we know it was so loving?  Because, according to Price, they remained together as common-law husband and wife, even after they divorced.  Gary Coleman wedding picture

That's right, she says they lived together, enjoyed marital relations, and considered themselves to be a married couple until Coleman passed away at age 42 on May 28, 2010.  Utah is one of the few states that permits common-law marriages.

And whether they truly were a common-law married couple is the focus of the estate fight currently brewing now.  It doesn't make much sense for a couple to get divorced, as Coleman and Price did, but then become a common-law married couple.

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Trial & Heirs' Top Tips for 2011 via Forbes

Now into the second month of 2011, it’s not too late to make a fresh start with the important topic of estate planning, which so many people find ways to keep putting off. We think it’s helpful to see what happened last year with some celebrity estates to help add motivation for proper legal planning in 2011. Forbes_home_logo

What happened in 2010? Dennis Hopper and Gary Coleman both passed away, sparking ugly court fights. The estates of Michael Jackson and Steve McNair dragged on with no end in sight, and Anna Nicole Smith’s efforts to claim a share of her 90-year old deceased husband’s billion dollar estate continued into its fifteenth year in court! In addition, the estates of Farah Fawcett, Gary Coleman, Brittany Murphy, and George Steinbrenner provided valuable lessons on how to (and how not to) protect families through estate planning.

Here’s how to make the most of changes in the law this year.

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Gary Coleman estate battles about to heat up

It's been a relatively-quiet couple of months in the Gary Coleman estate, after the two weeks of craziness that followed his sudden death on May 28, 2010.  It looks like that's about to change.Gary Coleman wedding picture

A short recap:  Coleman's ex-wife, Shannon Price, used her medical power of attorney document to terminate Coleman's life support, which upset his estranged parents.  They then filed to open his estate, saying he died without a will, and stopped Price from planning his funeral.

But there was a will.  Coleman's ex-manager, Dion Mial, came forward with a 1999 will naming him as the executor in charge.  But wait! 

There was a later will, in 2005, naming Coleman's female friend and former companion, Anna Gray as the one to be in charge of his estate.  So she's in control, right?  No!

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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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