When a celebrity passes away, they often leave a hefty fortune behind for their descendants. But this can get messy when one or more of these descendants don’t agree with the terms of the will — if there even is a will at all! Cases like these are proof that the drama doesn’t stop for these stars, even when they’re no longer with us. Some celebrity estates continue to wage war against inheritance seekers or those who use a profit off late celebrities for personal gain. But first, would you believe that it’s been over two years since Prince died and people are still claiming to be related to him?
Woman Claims To Be Prince’s Long-Lost Daughter Two Years After His Passing
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Two years after Prince’s passing in 2016, his estate is still shaking off people who are trying to lay claim to it. A woman named Snowe Melinda Saxman filed paperwork in Minnesota claiming that she was Prince’s biological daughter in May 2018.
Saxman says that she was adopted and never knew who her birth parents were. The woman claimed that she had “substantial physical, temperamental and aspirational similarities to Prince.” She also claimed that a DNA test linked her with people in Prince’s family tree, though not to the late singer himself as his DNA is not in the system.
Saxman Was A Little Too Late To File Her Claim
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Prince’s estate was not having it. Saxman’s evidence to her claims was obviously flimsy as well. In the end, Prince’s estate wanted to drop Saxman’s claim with the Minnesota court.
Sources told TMZ that even if Saxman was Prince’s biological daughter, she’d go through immense difficulties to get a stake in his estate anyway. For one, Saxman was too late to file any claims since she missed the deadline by a day. Also, Minnesota’s laws are such that adopted children can’t obtain heirship to their biological parents. If Saxman knew for sure she was Prince’s kin, she should’ve taken action way earlier.
700 People Tried To Get Inheritance From Prince Just Weeks After He Died
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The battle for Prince’s estate was hectic from the start. Within two weeks of the signer’s death in April 2016, up to 700 people have come forward with claims that they were related to him in some way.
Prince passed away without having any written will and was known to have only one son, who sadly died one week after he was born in 1996. This left the Purple Rain singer’s estate to be divided among his nearest relatives, which is why so many strangers have suddenly appeared. Prince’s estate is estimated to be worth up to $300 million.
It’s Been Years And Prince’s Family Still Received Nothing
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Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson and their five half-siblings have been named as heirs to the Purple Rain singer’s estate. But so far, none of these people have received a dime.
Comerica Bank and Trust has been named the executor of Prince’s estate, but some of the heirs apparently think that Comerica is mishandling the singer’s assets. They are also displeased over the fact that Comerica has collected almost $6 million in expenses. Meanwhile, none of the heirs can collect any money until it gets IRS approval, according to a report by Fox 9. But Prince isn’t the only celebrity who couldn’t rest in peace because of estate battles that lasted well after their death.
Robin Williams’ Widow And His Children Went To Court
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Robin Williams passed away in 2014, but his widow and his children soon found themselves in a legal battle of their own, months after his death. Third wife Susan Williams was brought to court by her three stepchildren, Zachary, Zelda, and Cory.
According to Williams’ trust, Susan was only supposed to inherit the home in Tiburon, California, along with all of its contents, as that is where she was living with the actor at the time of his death. However, she and her stepchildren disagreed on the exact meaning of the terms listed in the will. They claimed their stepmother was “adding insult to a terrible injury.”
It Took A Year For The Williams’ To Settle In Court
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As the case was dragging on, the children were accused of taking items from Robin Williams’ Napa home that they weren’t supposed to. But in the end, everyone got what they wanted.
It took nearly a year for Susan and her stepchildren to negotiate a deal. In addition to the Tiburon home, the children let their stepmother keep “the few emotional items she requested,” including wedding gifts and clothes. What she ended up with was only a tiny fraction of Williams’ estate, worth more than $100 million. The rest, of course, went to his three children. At least Williams and Susan were married. This next painter’s girlfriend was taken to court by his wife after she wouldn’t leave the family home.
Thomas Kinkade’s Girlfriend Of A Year Demanded A Lot From His Widow And Daughters
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Thomas Kinkade may have painted scenes that were tranquil and serene, but the battle for his estate was anything but. After his death in 2012, a legal battle between his wife and his then-girlfriend ensued.
Nanette Kinkade filed for divorce two years earlier, moving with their daughters to a smaller home. Meanwhile, the painter had been dating Amy Pinto for 18 months up until his death. Kinkade and Pinto were living in the painter’s mansion in northern California. It was the same mansion that Kinkade had built and raised his daughters in until they moved out with their mother.
Kinkade’s Girlfriend Held Herself Hostage In His Home
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Following Thomas Kinkade’s death, Pinto holed herself up in the Kinkade family home despite several orders to move out for not having kept up the rent. She claimed that she and the “Painter of Light” had left her his house, his studio, $10 million to establish a museum and his work, valued over $60 million.
Pinto had two handwritten notes that were allegedly from Kinkade, though the handwriting is nearly indecipherable. She also claimed that she and the famed painter were “in love” and that they had planned on marrying in Fiji after his divorce from Nanette was final, according to The Mercury News.
Kinkade’s Wife Had To Deal With His Crazy Girlfriend
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Lawyers for Nanette Kinkade told The Mercury News that the battle over her dead husband’s estate has been “very emotional.” Despite the fact that Nannette agreed that Kinkade would keep the house upon their 2010 separation, having Pinto holed up there is preventing her daughters from accessing their own belongings in the home.
Meanwhile, security guards have posted up around the Kinkade property to ensure that Pinto doesn’t try to steal anything that’s not hers during the legal proceedings. In the end, it took almost a year until the case was privately settled out of court.
Next, see what happened when Whitney Houston’s dark past that led to her death was drudged up for what her family believes is a “publicity stunt.”
The Photo That Put These Rappers At Odds With Whitney Houston’s Estate
Whitney Houston’s estate expressed their disdain for Kanye West after he paid $85,000 to use a photo of her bathroom for the cover art of Pusha T’s album, DAYTONA.
The photo in question depicts a messy bathroom counter with what looks to be drug paraphernalia. It was taken by a family member in 2006 when Houston’s legendary singing status was largely overshadowed by a drug addiction. Fans had their fingers crossed for Houston to recover before it ultimately led to her death in 2012. Houston’s estate was not pleased upon the album’s release in May 2018.
Houston’s Estate Was Disgusted By The Album Artwork
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Unfortunately, all that Houston’s estate could do was release a statement: “Even in Whitney’s death, we see that no one is exempt from the harsh realities of the world,” Houston’s estate told Entertainment Tonight.
The estate expressed they were “extremely disappointed in Kanye’s choice” to use the photo and felt that Houston’s addiction was exploited for the sake of selling albums. The late singer’s former husband Bobby Brown told Rolling Stone, “[Kanye] needs somebody to slap him up or something. And I’m just the person to do it.” But there was at least one person in the family who saw things differently…
Some Members Of Whitney’s Family Defended Kanye
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Gary Michael Houston, the son of Whitney’s brother Michael, appeared on Good Morning America apparently defending the use of the photo. The younger Houston says the blame is misplaced and that they should be upset with the family member who took and sold the photo in the first place.
He continued, “People will automatically look to people like Pusha T and Kanye West and… say they have ill or malicious intent in order to gain publicity. But I get it. I get the correlation (sans my aunt but the photo itself) and I actually love the album.” According to Pusha T, the photo wasn’t even going to be on DAYTONA until the very last minute.
This next case went on for nearly 20 years, even after both contenders for this millionaire’s inheritance died.
Anna Nicole Smith Wanted Some Of Her Late Husband’s Fortune
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The saga of Anna Nicole Smith is messy, to say the least. The former Playboy centerfold infamously married 89-year-old billionaire J. Howard Marshall in 1994 when she was just 26-years-old.
Marshall died the following year and Smith instantly sued Marshall’s family for half of his $1.6 billion fortune. Smith maintained that she loved Marshall, though many believed she married him for money. Though she was never added to Marshall’s will, Smith claimed that her late husband had plans to set her up with a trust. The ensuing legal battle would last over ten years and go on even after Smith’s own tragic death…
Anna Joined Forces With One Of Her Stepsons
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After J. Howard Marshall’s 1995 passing, Anna Nicole Smith joined forces with one of his sons, J. Howard Marshall III, who also had been left out of his father’s will. Their efforts to gain inheritance were disputed by another son, E. Pierce Marshall.
Things weren’t looking good for Smith in 2001 when the judge overseeing the estate battle decided that Smith wasn’t entitled to anything, but this was disputed and the case eventually made it to the Supreme Court by 2005. In June 2006, E. Pierce Marshall passed away, so his wife had to take up the case on his behalf.
Smith Had A Baby While She Was Still Fighting For Marshall Money
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Meanwhile, Anna Nicole Smith announced a pregnancy that same month and welcomed daughter Dannielynn September 2006. That in itself was a separate drama, as Dannielynn’s paternity was put into question and brought to court.
Ultimately, former boyfriend Larry Birkhead was found to be Dannielynn’s father. But in February 2007, Anna Nicole Smith passed away herself from a drug overdose. This left Dannielynn to take up her mother’s cause. Dannielynn was made the sole inheritor to her mother’s estate and if the ruling regarding the Marshall fortune would end up in Smith’s favor, Dannielynn had the potential to inherit $484 million.
Anna Nicole Smith’s Fight Was All For Nothing In The End
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Anna Nicole Smith and E. Pierce Marshall were the original two claimants to J. Howard Marshall’s estate in 1995. Though the battle was still rolling by 2008, both Smith and the younger Marshall had passed on.
Dannielynn was just an infant when she was named in court on behalf of her mother, whose lawyers were still edging for a slice of the Marshall estate. The wife of E. Pierce Marshall, who had inherited his father’s estate anyway in 2001, was on the opposing end of the case. In 2014 after nearly 20 years of litigation, the case was dismissed as moot. Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter earned nothing. James Brown’s family was in an estate battle that was just as messy as this one.
James Brown’s Widow Was Ready To Cash In But Wasn’t On The Will
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The battle for James Brown’s estate happened too soon after his death in 2006. Almost immediately, Brown’s family was trying to prevent his wife, Tomi Rae Hynie, from laying claim to the estate, said to be worth up to $100 million.
Brown had his will written up and finalized in 2000, stating that the bulk of the estate was intended for charity. He also originally stated that the remaining assets would be divided among his living descendants at the time. But in 2001, Brown married his on-again-off-again girlfriend of many years, Tomi Rae Hynie, the same year that she gave birth to their son, James Brown Jr.
Tomi Rae Hynie At Least Wanted To Be Acknowledged
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James Brown didn’t add Hynie or their son to his will and Hynie even signed a prenuptial agreement abandoning interest in the estate. Still, it seemed that Hynie had an issue with the fact that she wasn’t acknowledged at all following Brown’s death.
Many believed that Hynie wasn’t technically Brown’s wife. In 1997, Hynie married a Texas man who essentially only married her for a Green Card. She didn’t annul that marriage until 2004, which would have invalidated her marriage to Brown. Brown took action to annul his marriage with Hynie that same year, but it was never finalized.
James Brown’s Children Were Upset They Were Cut Out
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Aside from trying to prevent their stepmother from getting any of the estate, James Brown’s children were trying to contest the will that their father had made. They believed the assigned executors were mishandling the estate.
They were largely left out of the will that Brown wrote up in 2000. While most of his estate was intended for charity, $2 million was set aside in scholarships for his seven grandchildren at the time. The six children he acknowledged were only entitled to the personal property that he left behind, which included costumes and household effects.
The James Brown Estate Was Split Up, But Charity Still Won
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Eventually, all parties were given some of what they came for. The estate battle was near an end in 2015 when a South Carolina judge decided Hynie’s marital status to Brown.
They discovered that Hynie’s first husband was already married in his home country, so that marriage was automatically voided. Because Brown never went through with the annulment, he and Hynie were married at the time of his death. In the end, Hynie and her son were awarded a quarter of the estate, while another quarter was split among Brown’s adult children. The remaining half went to charity.