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Heirs & Beneficiaries Archives

Heirs face disinheritance in dispute over restaurant fortune

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.

Reese Witherspoon seeks conservatorship of father

Film buffs in Minneapolis and St. Paul may be most familiar with Reese Witherspoon for her many starring roles in movies. But the actress recently took on a legal role in real life as she petitioned to be appointed her father's conservator. The actress joined with her mother to seek conservatorship over her father, who is believed to suffer from dementia.

Conservatorship ends exploitation of vulnerable adults

Readers in the Twin Cities may take interest in a recent case involving the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults by an unscrupulous deli owner. The deli owner succeeded in defrauding three seniors out of more than $200,000 of a substantial inheritance and may have continued to get away with robbing the unwitting heirs if not for a court-ordered conservatorship.

Minneapolis residents may have been scammed in estate sale

Twin Cities bargain hunters are probably familiar with estate sales as an opportunity for good finds, but a recent case that may amount to estate sale fraud might make beneficiaries think twice before hiring someone else to act on behalf of the estate. Because estate sale companies are not subject to any special regulations, they are not liable for the types of fiduciary claims that might apply to a trustee, such as self-dealing or breach of fiduciary duty.

Conservatorship for Zsa Zsa Gabor?

Many readers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area may remember Zsa Zsa Gabor from film and television roles in an acting career that spanned more than four decades. Aside from her TV and big-screen appearances, Gabor also received a load of attention a number of years ago after infamously slapping a police officer. Unfortunately for the 95-year-old screen icon, the headlines today focus on her daughter's petition for the appointment of a conservator over the ailing star's finances.

Fraud claims haunt concert promoter's estate

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.

Beneficiaries beware: estate litigation becomes common occurrence

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.

At issue: fiduciary duties and the Etta James estate

Minnesotans are known for being very polite and generous people, and not too quick to offend. These admirable traits are just a few things that make living in Minnesota special. However, that these good qualities are the norm may sometimes result in Twin Cities residents' not being particularly comfortable in discussing a loved one's end-of-life wishes. Indeed, many families throughout the country put off important decisions regarding wills, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships and other estate planning matters, and too often the end result is problems with probate.

Minnesota senator proposes bill to protect vulnerable seniors

A senator from Minnesota has proposed legislation that is meant to protect seniors, the disabled and other vulnerable people from neglect and abuse by their guardians. To address these issues, United States Senator Amy Klobuchar held a discussion recently in an assisted-living facility in Duluth. She thinks new legislation is necessary based on recent governmental reports, her experiences as a Hennepin County attorney, and the troubles of a Saint Paul woman whose mother was taken advantage of by her guardians.

Family and widow of late boxer in international probate dispute

Minnesotans probably know that preventing probate litigation is often a meticulous matter involving careful thought about one's assets and their distribution. That may be especially true when a will involves a great many assets. With these issues in mind, readers in the Twin Cities may be interested to hear of a will contest involving parties from across national borders. What makes the case complex are the apparently conflicting end-of-life wishes expressed by a late boxer from Brazil. Now the boxer's young widow is in a probate dispute with his family, who allege that the young woman had schemed all along to acquire the boxers' wealth.Arturo Gatti was a well-known Brazilian boxer who passed away in 2009. Three years earlier in New Jersey, Gatti met a young woman 14 years his junior and fell in love with her. Soon they were married, and they had a child shortly afterward. Terrible as it may seem, members of the Gatti's family have alleged that his wife murdered him while they were on vacation in Brazil.

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Mason & Helmers
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