Creditor claims Feed

$19.6 million in Steve McNair's Estate, and 1 wild claim

I've written articles before about the mess that murdered NFL quarterback Steve McNair left behind because he died without a will.  I had predicted a possible fight between his widow and the two minor children from prior relationships, because she didn't list them as heirs on the probate filing.  The official story from the McNair camp is that they have to file claims with the Estate to be recognized as heirs, which they haven't yet done even though they both have attorneys representing their interests.Steve McNair 2

My personal view:  it was inappropriate not to list the two kids, and perhaps his widow, Mechelle McNair, realized it afterward.  Regardless, it now appears that the children won't have to fight to prove they are entitled to inherit, at least for now.

But even with one fight avoided, the Steve McNair Estate is far from easy.  First, there's the matter of what's in the estate.  His widow's attorney recently filed an inventory listing estate assets at around $19.6 million.  Most of this money (about $16.9 million) was invested in stocks and bonds.  McNair also owned at least two corporations, one of which was a cattle business called McNair Farms, Inc.  (Quarterbacking and cattle farming does go hand in hand, doesn't it?)

 

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Michael Jackson Estate already in turmoil

This may shape up as an estate mess for the ages.  For some reason, problems like this seem to follow musicians:  Ray Charles, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix . . . the list goes on.  I've already written many articles about the legacy problems that these and other musicians have left behind

So it should come as no surprise that the Estate of the King of Pop will follow the same course of wacko-ness.  It's been only four days since Michael Jackson suddenly died, at the age of 50, on June 25, 2009.  Already, we have a preview of several likely legal challenges.Michael_jackson

First, and foremost, there's the question of who will serve as guardian for his three young children.  Courts first look to a person's will to answer the question of who should serve this crucial role when the parent dies young.  But that only holds true when the second parents dies.  In this case, the mother of two of the three children, Deborah Rowe, is still alive.  Normally, there wouldn't even be a question; if one parent still lives, that parent gets custody.

But Rowe signed off on her parental rights, as part of a divorce settlement, years ago.  But it seems that her rights may not have been legally ended.  In 2003, she petitioned to have her rights restored, after one of the child molestation charges against Jackson, and a court of appeals ruled in her favor.  She and Jackson then settled in 2006, with the terms being kept confidential (but undoubtedly involving a large sum of money).

Now, Rowe has reportedly vowed to fight for custody, telling friends that as their mother, the kids need her.  And to complicate the matter further, because Rowe is mother to just two of the children, the children could be split apart if she prevails.

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An Estate's Unusual Creditor Claim: The Fight for Buried Treasure

Probate lawyers for estate administrators (sometimes called executors or personal representatives) have to deal with all sorts of claims by creditors.  Usually, these consist of people saying the person who died owed them money.  Medical bills, unpaid credit card statements, and breach of contract claims are a few common examples.  But sometimes the claims are not so common.

Morgan Dunn O'Connor is the executor of the Estate of her late mother, Marie O'Connor Sorenson.  Immediately after becoming appointed, O'Connor had to deal with one of the most unusual claims any estate representative has even had to deal with. 

The estate owns land along the Texas Gulf coast, about 160 miles southwest of Houston.  Nathan Smith, a 39-year old musician from Los Angeles, insists that he has discovered a sunken ship lost in 1822 that carried gold now worth three billion dollars.  How did he find it?  Ah the powers of the Internet!  Smith found it using Google Earth.  Inspired by the movie National Treasure, he went to the spot with a metal detector and says it confirmed there was gold and silver.

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