Major estate auction to be held today

Posted on May 3rd, 2012 No Comments

The estate of Mr. Joseph S. from Columbus, Texas, will be auctioned off tonight. The estate includes numerous original works of art by noted artists and myriad other items Mr. S. collected over the course of his life.

Mr. Joseph S. split his days between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and his hometown of Columbus, Texas. He had two homes in Columbus, both filled with treasured antiques.

The estate sale is set for 6:30 tonight at 1811 Upland Drive, Houston, TX 77043.

As uncomfortable as it may be, it is important to plan your estate before you pass. If you are ready to begin preparing for your inevitable demise, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C., at 281-362-2865.

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.

Jim Reeves Estate Battle Nearing a Close

Posted on July 27th, 2011 No Comments

The long, strange battle over the estate of late country musician Jim Reeves may soon be over.

Earlier this month, Nashville Seventh Circuit Court Judge Randy Kennedy ruled that the dispute would be narrowed to the interpretation of a 1976 will written by Reeves’ widow.  A trial has been tentatively set for October.

The country crooner died on July 31, 1964 when a single-engine private plane he was piloting crashed. His widow, Mary Reeves, took over managing Reeves’ posthumous career. She has released only a portion of the 100 demos that Reeves had recorded and stored away during his lifetime.

In the mid-1999s Mary signed away her late husband’s entire catalog of songs in exchange for $7.6 million in two promissory notes from United Shows of America. The company was owned by a former bank official named Ed Gregory Jr. He sold most of Reeves’ collection of memorabilia. The administrator of Mary’s estate had filed a lawsuit in 2001, challenging the transactions. This battle went on for more than four years, until a new will surfaced in 2005.

Mary Reeves’ second husband, Terry Davis, claimed he discovered in an old safe a one-page, handwritten will that Mary had allegedly written years before, leaving him the bulk of her estate, including all rights to Reeves’ music, royalties, and legacy.

If you are involved in an estate battle involving contested wills, please contact the Houston Contested Will 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.

Legal Battle Over Art Collector’s $300 Million Estate

Posted on June 29th, 2011 No Comments

The widow of a Manhattan art dealer has filed a lawsuit against the executor of her late husband’s $300 million estate.

Accoridng to court documents, Clare Stone, the widow of ardent collector Allan Stone, has filed a lawsuit claiming the executor of his estate improperly bought an $8.5 million Connecticut house with Stone’s money. The lawsuit also claims the executor, Leila Wood-Smith, of moving $200 million of Stone’s art into her home without court approval.

Daughter Jessie Stone claims she visited Wood-Smith’s home in 2010 and was surprised to see some of her father’s collection on the walls.

According to the lawsuit, Wood-Smith allegedly received a fee of nearly $6 million while Stone’s widow has received “less than one percent per year of the value of the Marital Trust.”

Stone’s estate is valued at approximately $300 million. Portions of the estate have sold at two auctions. In May 2011, works by sculptor John Chamberlain sold at Sotheby’s for nearly $55 million. In 2009, 71 lots offered by Christie’s sold for $52.4 million.

If you need assistance protecting your estate and navigating the complex legal realm of trust law, please contact the Houston trust attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C., by calling 281-362-2865.

Supreme Court Ends Long-Running Anna Nicole Smith Estate Battle

Posted on June 23rd, 2011 No Comments

The Supreme Court ruled against the heirs of Anna Nicole Smith Thursday, ending a long-running estate battle that has outlived all the main players.

The nation’s highest court denied the estate of Anna Nicole Smith’s attempt to capture some of the $1.6 billion estate left behind by her late billionaire husband. The court ruled that a bankruptcy court’s decision to give the now-deceased Playboy Playmate $475 million from the estate of Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall was decided incorrectly.

Marshall and Smith were wed in 1994, and he died the following year. Marshall’s will left his estate to his son, E. Pierce Marshall, and nothing to Smith. A California bankruptcy court later awarded Smith part of the estate, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal said that a bankruptcy court could not make a decision on an issue outside of bankruptcy law.

Smith’s estate appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which sided with Marshall.

If you need assistance with estate planning, please contact the Houston Estate Planning 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.

Contested Wills: Ga. Court Sides with Millionaire’s Mistress

Posted on June 2nd, 2011 No Comments

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled Tuesday the girlfriend of a wealthy car dealer can inherit a large portion of his vast estate.

The state’s highest court voted 4-3 that the proceeds from the sale of a Florida condominium should go to Anne Melican. According to court documents, Melican wheeled Harvey Strother into his lawyer’s office shortly before Strother’s death in 2004 to overhaul his will. Strother guaranteed Melican about $6 million of his $37 million estate.

Strother left the bulk of his assets to his wife Betty and their children in his 1988 will. In December 2003, however, he signed over prime pieces of real estate to Melican, his mistress of 10 years. A lower court found that Melican shouldn’t receive any of the properties, as the will was changed around the time that Strother had been drinking about a gallon and a half of wine each day.

Melican’s attorney argued that she was protected by Florida law, as the will was signed in Florida, and Georgia’s court agreed.

If you need assistance with estate planning or help with a contested will, please contact the Houston contested will lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C., by calling 281-362-2865.

Judge to Appoint Reciever in Hotelier’s Estate Battle

Posted on May 27th, 2011 No Comments

A judge in Florida said Monday he will appoint a receiver to manage the finances of a corporation that is at the center of an estate battle.

At the center of the estate battle is JBDK LLC, a corporation that was jointly owned by Myrtle Beach hotelier Dorothy Anderson and her husband, James Anderson. Judge Larry Hyman said he is concerned that Bert Anderson, a personal representative of his mother’s estate, has been given no information about how much money has passed through a a company checking account.

According to court documents, James Anderson transferred all of his interest in the corporation to the couple’s other son, Bobby, who has blocked Bert Anderson’s access to the checking account and has refused to provide an accounting for the funds. Bert Anderson filed a lawsuit against his father and brother, claiming that half of the money in the company checking account belongs to his mother’s estate.

If you need assistance with estate planning, please contact the Houston estate planning lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C., at 281-362-2865.

Spring clean your estate plan

Posted on May 6th, 2011 No Comments

Experts have said that Spring is not just an optimal time to clean your house, but it is also a great time to review documents like your estate plan and make sure that it is in working order.

Life is constantly changing, and so your will should reflect those changes. Estates should be updated if the composition of a family has changed, for example if you divorce, remarry, or have children. Also, if you have lost or gained assets, these should be written into your estate.

Estates should also reflect any changes in legislature that will affect estate taxes. These laws can change every few years so being up to date on your will can assure that your loved ones receive exactly what you intended them to in the event of your death.

If you or someone you love needs help planning an estate, please contact the Houston estate planning lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C., at 800-242-2151.

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Garg & Associates, PC | 21 Waterway Avenue, Suite 300 | The Woodlands, Texas 77380 Please call 281-362-2865 | Fax: 866-743-4506
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