When we come across an interesting probate case, we sometimes struggle with how much research to do. Writing about the Novack murders prompted a quick trip to the archives to read up on Miami's Fountainebleau Hotel. Perhaps that was a pride of place moment, though, and not a research-nerd moment. At any rate, in our discussion of the Kardashian daughters' lawsuit against their father's widow, we have not gone in search of the published diary excerpts or gone to Westlaw to find out more about Robert Kardashian's career.
Robert Kardashian, the father of "the" Kardashian girls, died with a will. The document probably seemed clear enough at the time, but there's a problem now, almost a decade after his death. The problem is with the meaning of the term "tangible personal property." For the Kardashian daughters and their mother, the problem really is with Robert's widow.
It may seem odd, but there is such a thing as "blog envy." We have smugly discussed our in-depth, multi-part posts about James Brown's estate, the Astors and other celebrities, but we admit to the tiniest bout of jealousy every time our family law blog colleagues nabbed another Kardashian headline. Well, our day has finally come.
This is the last of our posts about the James Brown estate -- for the time being. We were talking about the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision that threw out the settlement between the estate (represented by the trustees) and the family that had been brokered by the state's attorney general.
After seven years of political and legal wrangling, the James Brown "I Feel Good" Trust may finally be able to fulfill its mission. All that stands in the way of resolving one major lawsuit is one remanded matter; according to the South Carolina Supreme Court's ruling, the circuit court must replace the current trustees with neutral fiduciaries to unwind the attorney general's settlement agreement and to get the I Feel Good Trust and the singer's other education trust back on track.
We continue with our discussion of the James Brown estate litigation. A friend pointed out that we have devoted thousands of words to the matter; our response was just shy of, "Duh." The case involves a legendary cultural icon, the almost incomprehensible actions of state elected officials, some interesting probate concepts like pretermitted children and a 40-page state supreme court decision.
Have you heard this one? A pourover trust, an elective share and a pretermitted child walk into a bar.... No, neither have we, but some day we will come up with a really good probate joke that includes all the legal terms found in the recent court decision that may have settled, at last, the battle over James Brown's estate.
We are still discussing the decision handed down recently in the James Brown probate case. As we have said, the estate was not probated and the challenge to the will was not litigated here in Florida. That does not mean, though, that the whole thing is unworthy of our attention. As a friend has noted, we could talk about this forever.
In his song, "It's a man's man's man's world," James Brown laments that the world would be nothin' without a woman or a girl. It is hard not to wonder if he would rethink the sentiment in light of all the haggling over his estate.
As we have mentioned in previous posts on our Miami probate law blog, leaving a family member out of a will or leaving unequal inheritances to loved ones may lead to disputes over wills and other probate matters, especially when folks do not share their wishes with their children and other relatives while they are alive and capable of having such discussions about their estate plans.