Martin Luther King Jr’s inheritance dispute heats up

Published 20 Sep 2016

Inheritance disputes can be messy situations at the best of times. However, when it is in relation to a celebrity or prominent individual, the public seems to become enthralled.

The inheritance dispute involving Martin Luther King Jr’s property is one such example. For those in their own estate disputes, the late civil rights leader’s estate may hold a number of insights into disputes here in New South Wales.

What’s being disputed?

Inheritance disputes can pit family, friends and other parties against each other. The dispute over Martin Luther King Jr’s Bible and Nobel Prize is an example of this. The artefacts have led to the civil rights leader’s two sons taking their sister to court.

Back in 2014, the three surviving children – the sole shareholders and directors of his estate – voted on whether to sell the two items to a private buyer. While the brothers voted two to one in favour of selling, the items were in possession of the daughter, forcing the brothers to seek a court order.

In a recent announcement, the judge overseeing the case signed an order ending the ownership dispute. The consent order said that the items are to be released to the chairman of the estate. However, the order does not put a time limit on the order.

Additionally, the order only related to the Bible carried by Martin Luther King Jr, while the dispute regarding the ownership of Nobel Prize’s would head to trial.

Disputes over assets can be complex

The vast majority of cases that relate to dispute inheritance revolve around property. In New South Wales, a person may make an application for a family provision order under Succession Act 2006 Act.

People who are deemed eligible, such as a spouse or a child, can seek a different percentage of the inheritance. Due to the complexity of such a dispute, the courts will look at a number of factors including maintenance, education and future advancement.

In instances such as this, it is important to have access to advice from a legal specialist experienced making family provision claims. At Gerard Malouf and Partners Compensation, Medical negligence and Will dispute lawyers, we understand how painful making a claim can be. In response, we implement a compassionate approach to making a family provision claims.

If you would like to know more about contesting a will, talk to the experts today.

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