Attorney accuses judge and lawyers of conspiring to loot Rosa Parks’ estate

Posted on May 17th, 2012 No Comments

An attorney is suing the probate judge, Judge Freddie Burton Jr., and lawyers, John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr., who handled the estate of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

Lawyer Stephen G. Cohen is accusing Burton, Jefferson, and Chase of conspiring to loot Parks’ estate. He claims that the group ran up more than $507,000 in unnecessary legal fees, leaving the estate, originally valued at $8 million, $88,000 in debt.

Cohen also claims that Burton stripped control of Parks’ estate from Elaine Steele, one of its named heirs. This allowed Jefferson and Chase to continue racking up huge legal fees. Cohen demands they return the money.

Many probate litigation experts agree that Cohen’s allegations will be challenging to prove, but he is confident he will find success.

Columbus Family Involved in Estate Battle

Posted on August 3rd, 2011 No Comments

The children of a wealthy Columbus banker are involved in a battle over their late father’s estate.

According to Muscogee County Probate Court documents, Frank G. Lumpkin III has redoubled his efforts to remove his sister, Julia W. Lumpkin, as personal representative of their parents’ multimillion-dollar estates. Frank Lumpkin sued his sister last year for millions of dollars in damages, claiming she breached her fiduciary duties by stubbornly delaying the administration of the estates. Julia Lumpkin has denied wrongdoing and filed a countersuit against her brother.

Frank Lumpkin filed an amended version of his lawsuit, which accuses his sister of violating the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct and state law by serving as a judge and co-executrix of estates pending in her own court.

“Her actions not only constitute grounds for removal as Co-executor but should also be referred to the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission for investigation,” the lawsuit claims.

Julia Lumpkin recused herself from her parents’ estates last August after her brother filed the lawsuit. Frank Lumpkin’s lawsuit cites a Georgia statute that states: “The judge of a probate court cannot, during his term of office, be executor, administrator, or guardian, or other agent of a fiduciary nature required to account to his court.”

If you need assistance with probate litigation, please contact the Houston probate litigation lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C., by calling 281-362-2865.

Lawsuit: Rosa Parks’ Estate Was Drained

Posted on July 21st, 2011 No Comments

A lawsuit has been filed against two lawyers and a judge over their handling of civil rights icon Rosa Parks’ estate.

According to a Michigan Supreme Court filing, Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. allowed two court appointed attorneys, John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr., to drain nearly $243,000 in legal fees from Parks’ $372,000 estate. The filing states that once the money was gone, the lawyers persuaded Burton to award them Parks’ vast memorabilia collection and the rights to license her name, which Parks had given to her Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development long before her death.

Attorney Steven Cohen, who represents the institute in the probate case, filed a request Tuesday asking the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision that stood behind Burton’s handling of the case. Cohen accused Burton of overstepping his bounds.

“Since Mrs. Parks’ death in 2005,” the filing reads, “the court system of her adopted city has embarked on a course to destroy her legacy, bankrupt her institute, shred her estate plan, and steal her very name.”

Cohen claims that Burton has kept his actions and rulings sealed to prevent the public from learning that the lawyers were disregarding Parks’ final wishes.

If you need assistance with probate litigation in the Houston area, please contact the Houston probate litigation attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C., by calling 281-362-2865.

Gary Coleman’s Manager, Ex-Wife Battle Over Estate

Posted on June 6th, 2011 No Comments

Actor Gary Coleman’s estate remains tied-up in a legal dispute that has lasted almost a year.

The former child actor died on May 28, 2010. Coleman wrote a will in 2005 that left the bulk of his estate to his former manager Anna Gray. Coleman’s ex-wife Shannon Price, however, claims that she is entitled to Coleman’s estate because the actor made a handwritten amendment to his will naming Price as beneficiary.

The amendment is still in dispute. Lawyers are also debating whether Price should be considered Coleman’s common-law spouse. The couple divorced in August 2008, but continued living together.

If you need assistance with estate planning or litigation, please contact the Houston Probate Litigation Lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C., by calling 182-362-2865.

Elderly woman of prominent family takes sons to court over late husband’s will

Posted on May 19th, 2011 No Comments

A 71-year-old woman recently found herself in court over the will of her late husband. The woman, who is part of Massachusetts’s prominent Rockett family, is suing two of her sons, whom she claims are swindling her out of money that her late husband left her in his will.

The case is currently in trial, where the woman’s attorneys have argued that the woman was only receiving $27,000 a month after the death of her husband in 2009 and that this amount has since dwindled to nothing. Attorneys for the woman’s sons stated that the woman was left $17 million in assets and has received all of it.

Some close to the case have speculated that the woman was put up to suing her sons by another one of her children, whom her husband purposely left out of his will after a familial dispute.

If you or someone you love is fighting over a will, please contact the Houston probate litigation lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C., at 800-242-2151.

Same-Sex Couples’ Wills Being Challenged

Posted on February 25th, 2011 No Comments

Same-sex couples have been running into problems when one of their partners dies. As the law in several states does not recognize a same-sex civil union as a legal marriage, when a partner dies, the surviving partner is not entitled to the assets that are left behind.

One man had lived with his partner for twenty years and paid mortgage on the house they shared. However, the house was under his partner’s name, and, when the partner died, the man was given no rights to the home.

Even when wills are created to ensure that a partner receives the assets intended for them, they can still be challenged. This has often been the case from families who did not approve of the same-sex relationship when their family member was alive.

If a will from your loved one has been challenged for any reason, please contact the Houston probate litigation attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C., at 281-362-2865.

Court to review Anna Nicole Smith's husbands probate case

Posted on October 1st, 2010 No Comments

Monday, Supreme Court justices agreed to take a second look at the late Anna Nicole Smith’s husband’s probate case after her estate was ruled against in federal appeals court.

Smith was married to the much older J. Howard Marshall, a Texas oilman, for fourteen months before he passed away in 1995.  Marshall’s will named everything to his son and Smith received no assets.  She later sued claiming that her late husband had promised her $300 million.

Since Smith’s death, the case proceedings have been stalled.  Next year courts are scheduled to resolve the case by deciding if Smith’s estate had a proper trial in federal court and whether or not state courts should the place to handle such probate suits.

If you or someone you know is facing a challenged will, contact the Houston probate litigation lawyers of Garg & Associates P.C. at 281-362-2865 to learn more about your rights.

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