Pop superstar George Michael’s unexpected death two years ago caused a stir worldwide – and now two former partners have publicly disputed the Will provisions left in the musician’s estate.
What are the details behind these public disputes and what legal lessons we can learn?
The Will in question
When Michael passed away, he had no legal husband, children or any other obvious heirs to lay claim to his estate. This already makes contesting his Will a complex task, as it isn’t clear which significant others in his life may be entitled to some form of provision.
Michael was allegedly very careful in drafting a Will, ensuring the document was formalised and witnessed well in advance despite the issues surrounding who are the obvious estate beneficiaries, and his young age at the time of death. His estate seemingly encompasses a number of properties in the US, UK and Australia, as well as artworks and other assets.
The chief beneficiary of his estate is his sister Melanie. Meanwhile, his other sister Yioda also stands to inherit a legacy, along with god-children and children of family friends. Other provisions have been made for colleagues, friends and charity groups.
Public estate dispute
However, two of Michael’s former partners, Kenny Goss and Fadi Fawaz, claim to be devastated they have been left nothing from the musician’s estate. Goss, 59, was in a relationship with Michael for 15 years and has claimed for provision on the grounds that he helped the singer through tough times. Meanwhile, Fawaz, 45, had been Michael’s partner at the time of his death in 2016. This has led to both former partners publicly debating the legitimacy of the estate.
What can we learn about contesting an estate?
The questions over Michael’s estate leads to a number of legal concerns surrounding the provisions made to loved ones in his Will:
- Are his former partners entitled to a share of the estate?
- Do their claims outweigh clearly laid out provisions made for people whom Michael had a less significant relationship with?
- Will the executors of Michael’s estate be able to counter these claims?
Defining the relationship shared between the deceased and their family, friends and significant others is key to determining the legitimacy of a Will and how an estate is ultimately divided. It’s a complex area of law that requires expert input to untangle.
Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers will be able to assist you with any Will and Estate Planning issues that may arise. Contact us today for more information.