Robin Williams Estate Dispute Update
Posted by Charles Ticker

The Robin Williams Estate Dispute May be Resolved Out of Court I initially wrote a comment on the Robin Williams estate dispute on March 14, 2015. Robin Williams committed suicide on August 11, 2014. He left his family a vast estate valued at an estimated $50 million dollars. A claim was filed in a San Fransisco Court by Susan Williams (his widow), alleging that Robin Williams’ children from his first marriage removed among other items, jewelry, watches, and other memorabilia from one of the family homes shortly after the actor’s death. The full story can be found here. Given the … Continue reading


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Estate Dispute of the Heirs of Martin Luther King Jr.
Posted by Charles Ticker

Estate Dispute Involves Historically Important Property The surviving children of world-renowned civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. are currently involved in a bitter estate dispute over property belonging to the late Mr. King. The dispute is between his sons Martin Luther King III and Dexter King and his daughter Bernice King. They are battling over the ownership of Martin Luther King Jr.’s travelling bible and 1964 Nobel Prize medal. The travelling bible was used to swear in President Barack Obama for his second term in office. Both items are considered to be important parts of American history and the … Continue reading


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Celebrity Estate Disputes 2015
Posted by Charles Ticker

Celebrity Estate Disputes 2015 – The Estate of Robin Williams Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams tragically committed suicide on August 11, 2014. His untimely demise left many people questioning what caused him to take his own life. Shortly after he passed away, information surfaced about his struggles with depression and the profound impact it had on his life. Robin Williams was an immensely successful actor. Many sources have valued the estate he left to his family at over $50 million dollars. Celebrity estates can be substantial and difficult to administer. If an estate is poorly planned or if the parties make … Continue reading


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The Sad Case of Casey Kasem Continues
Posted by Charles Ticker

On May 30, 2014 I posted a blog on the sad case of Casey Kasem. In that blog I outlined the dispute between Casey’s children from his first marriage and his second spouse over personal care decisions. Unfortunately since posting that blog Casey Kasem passed away on June 15. For over a month, his body remained at a funeral home in Tacoma, Washington. Casey’s daughter Kerry from his first marriage has filed an application in the Washington State Superior Court seeking an autopsy on her father’s remains. She indicated that she sought an order that his remains be preserved pending … Continue reading


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The Case of Casey Kasem
Posted by Charles Ticker

One of the most frequent sibling estate fights that I come across is a dispute between siblings over who is to have the ability to make decisions for a parent who is not competent to make decisions for their own personal care. Sometimes the dispute involves third parties such as a stepmother or second spouse. A recent example of this type of dispute involves former Top 40 host Casey Kasem who had successful radio music shows called American Top 40 and Casey’s Top 40 in the 1970’s. I still listen to his recorded shows on satellite radio in my car. … Continue reading


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UPDATE- Sibling estate fight morphs into nasty neighbour dispute
Posted by Charles Ticker

I have previously blogged about a sibling estate fight that turned into a nasty neighbour dispute . Read the earlier blog here. The case Fitzpatrick v. Orwin and Squires involved a dispute over a property line that got very ugly when the neighbour Fitzpatrick was found at trial to have placed or caused someone to place a dead coyote on the hood of the other neighbour’s ( Squires)car. At trial, Fitzpatrick was found liable for over $200,000 in damages and interest and $ 20,000.00 in punitive damages plus costs. Fitzpatrick appealed. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on February … Continue reading


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Another Farm Case of Proprietary Estoppel
Posted by Charles Ticker

In the past I have blogged about the doctrine of proprietary estoppel in the context of an estate dispute over ownership of a farm (See Breakfast with Gus). The Ontario Court of Appeal in Schwark Estate v. Cutting 2010 ONCA 61 summarized the law of proprietary estoppel in this way: “ The law with respect to proprietary estoppel is well-settled. This court has accepted that Snell’s Equity properly discloses the elements necessary to establish proprietary estoppel as: 1. encouragement of the plaintiffs by the defendant owner, 2. detrimental reliance by the plaintiffs to the knowledge of the defendant owner, and … Continue reading


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Appointing all your children as executors can be a mistake
Posted by Charles Ticker

When I was drafting Wills my clients would quite often have difficulty in deciding whom they should appoint to be their executor.  While they usually would appoint their spouse, when it came to appointing other alternate executors, they typically would tend to appoint all of their children.  I would advise my clients that naming any more than 2 or 3 executors was a recipe for disaster as all executors must act unanimously.  The problem can be avoided if the Will provides for a majority rule clause that provides a majority of executors can make decisions on behalf of the estate. … Continue reading


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Sibling spat results in removal of attorney
Posted by Charles Ticker

In the past, I have blogged and spoken about the duties of an attorney (substitute decision maker) acting under a power of attorney. I am consulted on a regular basis by family members of incapable persons who have concerns or complaints concerning the failure of an attorney to keep them in the loop as to what the attorney is doing with respect to the incapable person’s property. Quite often, the persons consulting me are being denied by the attorney the right to visit the incapable person even when they are close relatives or friends of the incapable person. The Substitute … Continue reading


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Sibling estate dispute highlights pitfalls of joint tenancy
Posted by Charles Ticker

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Semenoff Estate v. Bridgeman, highlights the problems that can result when joint tenancy is used as an estate planning tool , non-lawyers draft their own legal documents and ask their lawyers to accept and put into writing what they have agreed to between themselves. It also highlights the pitfalls of a party self- representing himself at trial without the benefit of a lawyer. The Semenoff family consisted of the matriarch Polly, her children William (Bill), Michael, Steve and Marion Demosky. Polly owned some land in rural BC. Sometime in the … Continue reading


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