Nobody Has Died, So Why Is This Estate Issue Going to Court?

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When it comes to planning your estate, preparation is always advised over procrastination. However, one California media mogul may be taking preparation to a whole new level His estate issue could be heading to court long before he actually passes away.

Taking an Estate Issue to Court Before You Die

Media titan Sumner Redstone is known for many things around California. His reputation includes having legal troubles with his former girlfriends. However, one of these legal conflicts could land Sumner in California legal history. That’s because a probate trial for his estate could soon get underway, and Sumner will be alive to see it.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Redstone’s former girlfriend has filed several lawsuits over being dismissed from the 95-year-old’s will. These cases include a racketeering charge against Redstone’s daughter and grandson as well as a controversial interference claim. That claim was struck down by a Los Angeles judge, and has influenced her other claims. However, Redstone shocked everyone when he filed his own petition to straighten out the confusion over the intent of his trust.

A case like this, where the builder of a trust has gone to court over said trust before his/her own death is new for California. Even THR’s legal research staff couldn’t find a case like this on record. In most states, this type of legal proceeding wouldn’t even be possible, but an appellate decision in Drake v. Pinkham is facilitating this trial. However, there is still a chance the trial may not happen.

The Drake v. Pinkham decision allows for legal action where there is… “a dispute over the incapacity of a settlor of a trust.” —THR. Redstone’s spurned companion has filed an appeal claiming that she has never questioned Redstone’s competence. If the appeals court sees it her way, then Redstone’s petition could be dismissed. If the appeal is not upheld, then the woman could find her other claims on the Redstone estate critically injured.

This case once again proves that probate can be a complex and arduous place to settle a matter of inheritance, even when you’re still alive. This is why it is important to stay ahead of your family’s potential estate headache with either a living trust or a strong will. The Estate attorneys at Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann, LLP have experience helping people create these estate solutions. Don’t be afraid to contact us if you need help creating a strong legacy for your loved ones.

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