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July 10, 2024 / Press

Neil Solarz Discusses Legal Battle Over Tony Bennett’s Estate in Wealth Management

Neil Solarz recently spoke to Wealth Management about the ongoing legal dispute over Tony Bennett’s estate. In June of 2024, Bennett’s two daughters filed a lawsuit against their brother, alleging that he mishandled the late singer’s assets while acting as trustee of the estate.

“It’s not unusual to name one child in succession to act as the trustee during the administration period. But it’s almost always a bad idea to name one child as the ongoing trustee for another child, or children, once the period of administration is over,” Neil explains. “Given the dynamics and the existence of this lawsuit, there’s a high likelihood a judge will mandate an independent trustee, whether it’s a private fiduciary or a corporate trustee, as a viable solution,” he adds.

Neil tells Wealth Management that the issue of conflict among children of deceased parents pertaining to assets is a frequent issue within probate trust litigation, which is why it’s best for parents to avoid naming one child as an ongoing trustee.

“This lawsuit is a prime example of issues we frequently encounter in probate trust litigation. One child is chosen as trustee for their financial acumen or perceived skill at handling a complex process. However, this often leads to envy or discord among family members and, subsequently, legal action,” Neil says. “If one child is the ongoing trustee, it can create an overwhelming amount of tension between siblings, as the remaining siblings may find it demeaning to have to seek their brother or sister’s permission to access their own trust going forward.”

Read the full article in Wealth Management.

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