Top 5 Famous Probate Cases in History


Do you have a probate case somewhere in your future? Before reaching out to probate administration lawyers, maybe you need to take some time for research. This article will present you a list of the most famous probate cases in recent history. 

Maybe you are just curious or maybe you need some inspiration. In any case, keep on reading because it might be of great help. Fighting over money is something that can turn friends in enemies.

1.    Tom Carvel

You might not know this, but Tom Carvel was the inventor of soft ice cream. So, you can imagine that he became a very successful businessman. Carvel started out by selling ice cream from his truck in 1929. From there, he developed a business that became one of the first franchises in America.

Also, his death let loose to the start of big probate cases. The reason for the fight was that Carvel left a will saying that all his money should be put in a trust for various donations to charities. 

The disagreement reached the boiling point when Carvel’s niece filed for his body to be exhumed in 2009 to investigate potential poisoning. The process continues to this day.

2.   Anna Nicole Smith

You may have heard of this. She was married to billionaire J. Howard Marshall although being 62 years younger, leading people to assume that she married for the money. After only 14 months since these two got married, he died, leaving all the money to his son – E. Pierce Marshall. 

Anna and his other son, J. Howard Marshall III,joined forces and filed a will contest in court, claiming half of the will. Even if two of the participants died in the meantime, E. Pierce Marshall in 2006 and Anna Nicole Smith in 2007, the battle continues.

3.   Ike Turner

After this music star died in 2007, he left behind a very valuable estate and royalties to almost 4000 songs. Because he didn’t leave a clearly stated and recorded will, the situation developed into his six children appearing before the courtwith six different wills, each giving rights to a different person.

There were also people saying that he didn’t leave a will, while others were presenting handwritten ones. The judge ended up favoring the children.

4.   Jimi Hendrix

The problem with this music star was the lack of a will. After a sudden death at 27, Jimi Hendrix left behind royalties that made family members and record companies start several tries. 

An attorney was in charge of his estate for 20 years until Hendrix’s father filed a suit for control in 1990. After five years, he won. But after Al Hendrix died, another battle ensued, this time between Al’s adoptive daughter and Jimi’s brother. The latter lost due to drug addiction problems.

5.   Gary Coleman

The star of the ‘70s show “Diffr’ntStrokes”, Gary Coleman died at 42, in 2010. Coleman apparently left behind 3 wills, the last one being handwritten and leaving everything to his wife at the time.

However, they have divorced, so this strange legal battle resulted in Gary’s business partner, Gray taking the spoils.