Dispute ends over French music icon’s will

Published 17 Jul 2020

While celebrity will disputes and inheritance battles being fought in public deal with sums of money and amounts of property that most people will never deal with, they are worth studying. These conflicts between family members and friends show the circumstances that lead to disagreements and conflicts, which can help you know when to pursue your own case or prepare your own will in a clear and unambiguous way.

Johnny Hallyday case ends

The latest global dispatch about a celebrity will demonstrates the schisms that can pop up between family members of a deceased person, as well as the legal complexities stemming from a person living in multiple different countries with contrary legal requirements regarding estate planning. Agence-France Presse reported that when early French rock 'n' roll star Johnny Hallyday passed away in late 2017, his will heavily favored his current and fourth wife, Laeticia, and their adopted daughters. The complication with this comes from the fact that the will was drawn up in the U.S. where Hallyday resided, but French law means all of a person's children must receive at least some inheritance.

Two of Hallyday's children by previous wives brought the matter to court, at which point Hallyday's French assets were frozen as the case was heard in France. Now, the parties have reached a settlement. The case has stretched on for two years, and though the terms are not public, everyone involved has ended their legal action against one another.

Since the Hallyday case had such a high profile in Europe and was so complex, the Financial Times even used it as an example of why people should think more carefully about estate planning. This is closely tied to the matter of where a person resides and what laws bind them. FT noted that it pays to know which sets of laws an individual is bound by. The conflict between the French and U.S. approaches to inheritance – and the ultimate determination that Hallyday remained a French national – was the deciding point in this will dispute.

Disputing a will in NSW or Queensland

In NSW and Queensland, the list of valid reasons to begin a will dispute proceeding include the fairness of the will, the ongoing financial needs of family members and dependents and the state of the deceased at the time the will was signed and witnessed.

If a will is read that unfairly excludes you from the beneficiaries, or you believe there was coercion or undue influence involved in the signing, you can contest it. Reach out to the experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners by email or call 1800 004 878 for a free appointment.

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