For many families, the death of a loved one brings not only grief, but also contention and acrimony. Here are three factors that can cause contentious disputes between family members and other parties with interest in an estate:
Even the most carefully crafted wills can still run into legal issues after a loved one passes away. Whether it's due to hurt feelings by those left out of the will -- or legitimate invalidating concerns -- there are plenty of cases where Minnesota residents have wills that end up being disputed.
Officials say that financial exploitation of the elderly is on the rise in Minnesota and around the country. These crimes can have a terrible impact on vulnerable adults, and on the inheritances they want to leave to younger generations. In many cases, the perpetrators use undue influence to gain control of the victim's assets.
Twin Cities readers who followed a previous story involving the heirs to the Benihana restaurant chain may be interested to learn that a recent court ruling has settled outstanding questions relating to two documents that may determine the future disposition of a substantial portion of the founder's estate.
A judge recently approved a settlement in a three year long dispute over the estate of the man behind the development of shopping malls throughout the Midwest, including St. Paul and other parts of Minnesota. Melvin Simon, who founded the Simon Property Group, died at age 82 in 2009. Since his death, the mall developer's estate has been at the center of a bitter will contest involving his daughter, her stepmother and the estate's court appointed trustee.
Twin Cities readers may be interested to learn about an unusual case that raises ethical questions about profiting from another person's misfortune and has many wondering whether a practice touted as offering a benefit to terminally ill patients may in fact be a case of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. Federal prosecutors have charged an estate planning attorney with counts including conspiracy and mail and wire fraud stemming from his use of financial instruments that would generate profit upon the death of the owner.
Twin Cities readers who followed July's story about an estate dispute over a collectibles business valued at nearly $3 million may be interested to learn that the venerable memorabilia dealership has reopened its doors. An August court ruling in favor of the business owner's sons brought the heated will contest to a close and gave the sons an opportunity to devote their efforts to marshaling business assets.
Iron Range businessman Jeno Paulucci may be best known to Twin Cities readers by way of his legacy of popular food products. The Hibbing native earned his fortune through the success of brands including Chun King, Jeno's Pizza Rolls and Michelina's frozen meals. The nearly simultaneous death of the entrepreneur and his wife has led to an eight-month long dispute over the administration of family trusts valued at an estimated $100 million.
Many of our readers in the Twin Cities area may have been paying particular attention to discussions about the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. It seems that some unscrupulous people will stoop to any level to enrich themselves at the expense of the elderly.
The Benihana restaurant chain may have offered an entertaining dining experience to many Twin Cities residents over the years. With over 100 locations worldwide and 6,000 employees, Benihana restaurants present culinary feats performed by knife-wielding chefs. But a lesser known show, of sorts, has been simmering since the death of the restaurant's founder in 2008.