Articles Tagged with Houston Estate

Piano keyboardEarly in his career Stevie Wonder signed a contract with Motown Records.  Like thousands of other recording artists, the terms were more beneficial to the record companies than for the artists.  Wonder secured an attorney, Johanan Vigoda, to help him disengage from the Motown contract.

Vigoda was also able to secure a lucrative new contract for Wonder that was considered to be one of the best in the industry. Vigoda passed away in 2011.

Vigoda’s widow now claims that Wonder has failed to live up to that contract. A provision in it gives 6 percent of Wonder’s royalties to Vigoda and to Vigoda’s heirs in perpetuity. The 6 percent is higher than music industry standards and the perpetuity clause is also irregular.

Sold signBaby Boomers have long dictated trends and styles.  Today’s Boomers continue to establish trends as they begin their down-sizing moves.  Estate sales are a growing niche as older adults scale back their lifestyles.  Estate sales have become big business as aging Americans decide that they’d rather let someone else handle the details, according to the Detroit Free Press article, "Estate sales boom with aging demographics."

What is an estate sale? It is an auction where one’s household belongings are put up for sale. They are popular for buyers because estate sales often contain older, valuable possessions that can be purchased at a discount. In fact, some people even make a living out of buying items at estate sales and selling them for retail elsewhere, such as their own shops or on eBay.

As a result, there appears to be two groups of “sellers” who might consider having an estate sale.

Man-couple-people-woman-medium fightingDivorce lawyers know that some of the most intense fights between a couple can erupt over the most insignificant item —- a matchbook collection or a set of souvenir spoons from family vacations. 

The stuff being fought over serves as a proxy because the parties are angry with each other and want to fight over something. The same thing happens in estate law when heirs do not get along and resent each other. The heirs will fight over those very same inexpensive souvenir spoons.

However, in estate law these battles do not make it to court as often as they do in divorce law because divorcing couples are already in court. Most of the time heirs feuding over junk find it cost prohibitive to hire attorneys. Robin Williams' estate might be an exception.

Arm wrestling over moneyThe ongoing skirmish over the small estate of baseball legend Ernie Banks has gone into extra innings.  There was a battle between Banks’ estranged wife and the caretaker who was named as sole heir to the estate.  Most recently, a third party has claimed a portion of the modest estate. 

 Banks' friend, Shirley Marx, has entered a claim against the estate for $80,000. Marx claims this is the amount she loaned to Banks while he worked for her family's moving company. However, the loans were not documented, which will make it difficult for Marx to prove her claims.

The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog reported on this in "Estate of Ernie Banks Faces New Challenge As Creditor Steps Forward."

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