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Inheritance dispute over billionaire's estate

Most people in the Philadelphia area want to leave some sort of legacy behind them when they pass away. In some cases, their legacy could be in the form of an inheritance left to loved ones. Unfortunately, if proper documents are not in place, an inheritance dispute could follow the loss of a loved one. Such a dispute has arisen over the estate of a deceased billionaire who lived out of state.

According to reports, the man passed away at the age of 98 without a will. His estate, valued at $1.8 billion, must be divided among his two children, three grandchildren and widow. Three people have requested that a court award them a larger portion of the estate. One is his daughter, who is set to receive $30 million. Although distribution of this amount was approved by the court, she claims that it is improper to distribute the funds while there is a challenge to the estate and questions a $7 million payment to its executor.

The man's widow has also requested court intervention. In their prenuptial agreement, she reportedly agreed to an inheritance of $15 million. However, there was a "gift instruction" that left her only $10 million. After only receiving the $10 million, she is asking a court to nullify her prenuptial agreement, claiming that she signed it under duress. She is asking for a third of the estate, approximately $600 million.

A woman who describes herself as the man's companion claims she agreed to be his companion at his request although it meant that she had to alter her work schedule and child care arrangements. In payment, she claims she was promised $20 million so she would not have to work. Because she claims the man's promise to her was not fulfilled, she is asking for the money.

The distribution of a large estate can be complex, especially if the correct documents have not been prepared and executed as desired. Family members are often left to determine what their loved one may have wanted while also coping with their grief over their loss. While planning in advance can help those in the Philadelphia area ensure their wishes are known, an inheritance dispute can arise even if proper documents are in place. Fortunately, there are professionals with experience with probate and estate administration who can help.

Source:, "Family Fights Over Kirk Kerkorian's Estate", Mike Heuer, May 31, 2016

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