Martin Luther King, Jr. estate the focus of an inheritance dispute

Published 18 Feb 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr. is once again making headlines, more than 50 years after his legendary “I Have A Dream” speech was uttered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This time, however, it’s an inheritance dispute that’s got the media’s attention.

It seems that Bernice, King’s daughter, has in her possession two iconic pieces of her father’s estate: his Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to King in 1964, and his Bible, which he carried with him everywhere. According to the Washington Post, Bernice’s brothers – Martin Luther King III and Dexter King – have asked a judge to get her to hand over the valuable items.

She believes her brothers want to sell the Nobel Peace Prize and Bible, and claims her father would be “turning in his grave” at the idea.

At a news conference on February 6, Bernice spoke to the media: “I take this strong position for my father because Daddy is not here to say for himself, ‘My Bible and my medals are not to be sold’.”

ABC News reports that King’s children agreed to give many of the assets left to them by their father to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc. However, Bernice – despite saying the agreement was and continues to be valid – is not going along with it.

King’s children have already earned quite a bit from their father’s estate, with ABC News revealing they each received an equal share of the $32 million generated by the sale of 10,000 of his documents. Nevertheless, they have often fought over King’s legacy.

In 2008, states CNN, Bernice and Martin Luther King III opted to sue Dexter for allegedly using “substantial funds from the estate’s financial account at Bank of America” to buy things for himself. This was eventually settled out of court.

It is not uncommon for siblings or other family members to get involved in contesting wills cases if they feel they have not been adequately provided for by the deceased, or the estate is not being managed as it should.

Who is eligible to contest a will in New South Wales? 

The New South Wales Trustee and Guardian reveals the following people are eligible to contest a will.

– Your spouse (husband or wife)

– Your de facto partner (whether they’re of the opposite or same sex as you)

– You children

– Your grandchildren (if they were at some point dependent on you)

– Your ex-spouse

– Any other dependents you could reasonably be expected to provide for in your will.

For more information about inheritance disputes, get in touch with a contesting wills lawyer in New South Wales today.

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