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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Family of media mogul fights out inheritance dispute

Some of our Minnesota readers may be familiar with a major probate dispute that has attracted national attention over the last several weeks.

The daughter of a billionaire with an interest in Hudson News, a national chain of newsstands found in places like train stations and airports, took the stand in an inheritance dispute, recently, in an effort to convince a court to set aside her grandfather's will. She is also challenging several end-of-life transfers her grandfather made.

The woman's grandfather was the architect of the Hudson News empire. The woman claims that the grandfather's final will and his last business decisions, in effect, deprived her of a portion of her inheritance and did not reflect her grandfather's true intentions. She accuses her uncle of exercising undue influence over her grandfather.

For his part, the uncle claims that this lawsuit is simply part of a ploy for the woman's father to get control of Hudson News. The family dynamics are somewhat complicated in this case: the grandfather had a daughter who married and had one child, the plaintiff in this suit, with her billionaire husband. While the woman's mother and father later divorced, her father still became executor of her mother's estate upon her 2007 death.

While, of course, not all Minnesota residents will own a business purportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars, many Minnesotans do own smaller businesses and want to see these businesses passed down to certain family members. Despite the best estate planning, sometimes disputes about a business can lead to probate litigation. In such cases, an attorney experienced in estate litigation can be of valuable assistance.

Source: The Record, "Samantha Perelman testifies in inheritance trial," Kibret Markos, Nov. 18, 2013

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