Jun 1, 2014

Mickey Rooney's will contested

Poor Mickey Rooney's last days were filled with elder neglect and financial hardship. Even now, following his death on April 7 at age 93, it seems like Rooney still can't rest in peace. 

In his will which was filed with the L.A. Probate Court, Rooney names only one beneficiary: his stepson Mark Aber. Aber cared for the actor in his declining years. Rooney's wife of four decades, as well as his other biological children and stepchildren, are now squaring off over the estate, despite its relatively paltry value of $18,000. That's a pittance considering the legendary actor's earnings over several decades.

His wife Jan, from whom he separated in 2012, alleges she never  waived her rights to his estate. His other children (both biological and stepchildren) are also contesting the will, claiming that Rooney was under "undue influence" from Aber and his court-ordered guardian, lawyer Michael Augustine, when he signed the will just weeks before he passed away. A hearing is scheduled for the L.A. Probate Court.

Why spend the legal fees and energy to do battle over $18,000? For one thing, as with the estates of many famous decedents (Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson come to mind), the estate could be worth far more in the future because of licensing rights, likeness rights, possible royalties, and the sale of memorabilia. Additionally, money is not always the main driver of these battles. I have seen family fights fueled by long-simmering grudges as much as by money. Rooney's complicated family circumstances and his estate's earning potential make it a legally combustible mix.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...