Tom Petty’s estate disputed by daughters

Published 04 Jul 2019

The estate of Tom Petty is reportedly the subject of a Will dispute between his daughters and his widow. Allegedly, the basis of the dispute is around the superstar’s catalog and other claims to the estate.

A Petty dispute

Petty’s daughters allegedly filed a law suit seeking US $5 million in damages against his widow, after claiming that the late singer’s wife had overridden their right to participate in decisions pertaining to the catalog. The daughters wish to have more control around the rights of their fathers’ intellectual property, as well as marketing rights to the Tom Petty name and image. Petty, who died in October 2017 after an accidental drug overdose, was said to have amassed a fortune of around US $38 million.

Previously, Petty reportedly had set up a trust prior to his death, of which his widow was the sole trustee. However, trust document outlined that the widow was to transfer artistic properties into another company, where Petty noted that both his daughters and widow would have equal rights. The term “equal rights” is an issue as it doesn’t clearly indicate what this means in terms of managing the artistic property – whether decisions would be made under a voting system, or if there were equal shares in different artistic properties.

Who can contest a Will in NSW?

When a person passes away, their last Will and testament are generally taken verbatim, with their wishes directed as such. However, there are cases where beneficiaries or concerned parties aren’t happy with the division of estate, or the legitimacy of the Will is questioned. In the instance of disputing a Will, the Family Provisions Act 1982 (NSW) outlines a number of persons who are legally allowed to question the division of estate:

  • A spouse of the deceased at the time of their death, including de-facto partners.
  • A child of the deceased.
  • Grandchildren of the deceased.
  • Ex-spouses of the deceased.
  • Someone who was dependent on the deceased.
  • Someone who had lived in a household of which the deceased was a member.

After determining that you meet the above criteria, a Court will then need to investigate whether the deceased had a moral obligation to take care of you after their death, or another reason that warrants an alteration of the Will.

If you’re considering challenging the division of an estate, it’s important to reach out to Gerard Malouf and Partners Will Disputes Lawyers to support your claim.

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