It is often said that the death of a loved one in Los Angeles (and anywhere else, for that matter) can have a galvanizing effect to help bring a family together. If that is true, then the opposite might often be said about estate administrations; they may end up tearing families apart. Of course, one can imagine that this is not the hope of those who died. This is why estate planning experts recommend being as transparent as possible when drafting wills and trust articles. The hope is that doing so will help avoid disputes amongst beneficiaries.
One might be able to understand why beneficiaries might dispute their interest in an estate; oftentimes, that interest could potentially represent a significant amount of money. That certainly is the case in an ongoing dispute between a New York family. At the center of it all are pieces of an extensive art collection that is said to be valued at over $1 billion. The collection is overseen by a man whose daughter recently sued him over the sale of one painting in particular. The man had claimed this piece to be part of the family collection, yet documents show that it was actually purchased by his late wife (from whom his daughter said he had been estranged for almost 30 years). The man had sued to try to stop the sale of the painting, yet was unsuccessful. In this most recent lawsuit, the daughter (who represents her mother’s estate) claims this his earlier lawsuit scared potential buyers away, causing the painting to be sold at several million dollars less than she believed it to be worth.
Even with added transparency, some estate disputes may be inevitable. Those embroiled in them might be wise to solicit the advice and assistance of an experienced attorney.