Bill Graham may be familiar to Twin Cities residents as the concert promoter that helped bring bands like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and the Rolling Stones to prominence in the 1960s and early 1970s. In a case filed in probate court nine years after his death, the promoter's legacy now stands in the shadow of probate litigation over the value of his heirs' inheritance.
Twin Cities jazz and rap fans may be dismayed to learn of shady dealings in the estate of Gil Scott-Heron, who died in May 2011 at the age of 62. The man who penned "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" would undoubtedly cringe to know that his recent Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award comes in the shadow of an unseemly family dispute.
Minnesota beneficiaries may be able to learn lessons from the famous estate disputes of celebrities. Public lawsuits over celebrities' estates have brought light to such issues as self-dealing, proper execution of trusts and misuse of funds.
Minnesotan readers will be interested to know that a new leader has been appointed to run the recently founded Office of Older Americans, which is part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The purpose of the new federal agency is to prevent the financial exploitation of seniors, such as in cases of undue influence, coercion and self-dealing.
In Minnesota issues of probate and estate administration are decided every day. Some turn on the status of a particular individual and their relationship to the deceased. In cases where a last will and testament exists, the terms of the will may dictate who gets what. When there is no will, however, state statutes provide for distribution to beneficiaries. Whether or not these issues played a direct part, an interesting and heart-rending case was reported in Minnesota.