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San Francisco Estate, Business, and Investor Immigration Law Blog

Gold Digger? Woman Shovels for DNA and Inheritance

A New York woman, Nina Sebastiana Viola Montepagani, dug up her father’s remains to get DNA to show he was not her real father. Nina’s wants to prove she is the daughter of a wealthy Italian physician that she says had an affair with her mother. If she can prove that Dr. Sebastiano Raeli was her biological father, she could in inherit to a $50 million. She may need to dig up Raeli’s grave in Italy for his DNA to prove paternity.

Sumner Redstone Sues Ex-Girlfriends for $150,000,000

Billionaire Sumner Redstone is suing his two ex-girlfriends for $150,000,000 for elder abuse, saying they isolated him from his family and took his money. The 93-year-old CBS mogul says the two women, Manuela Herzer and Sydney Holland, received $150 million in gifts from him, leaving him owing taxes. His attorney said “They manipulated and emotionally abused Redstone to get what they wanted — jewelry, designer clothing, real estate in Beverly Hills, New York, Paris and money — lots of it. Holland had a ‘”to do” list that included the notation: “The first thing is changing the trust to add both of our names on it. How many people does Sumner need to remove to achieve that?” Redstone is worth $40 billion.

Menendez Brothers Broke

The Menendez brothers have said they are broke. Valued at $14.5 million when the case broke, the Menendez family estate has almost entirely been depleted by taxes and legal fees. All that remains of an estate that consisted of prime Beverly Hills real estate and millions of dollars in entertainment industry stocks is one house in Calabasas, a condominium in New Jersey, some jewelry, a few pieces of furniture and $651,948 in cash. Nearly $11 million has already been spent, about half on taxes and lawyers' fees for the defense of sons Lyle and Erik Menendez, who admit that they killed parents Jose and Kitty Menendez.

Michael Jackson Estate Battle

In a battle with the IRS, Jackson's estate has claimed that the pop icon Michael Jackson was worth almost nothing when he died. The estate claims that accusations of child molestation and rumors of heavy drug use had caused many of his sponsors to drop Jackson. His estate claims he was only worth $2104 when he died, in contrast to the IRS' estimate of $434 million.

Dogfight Over $12 Million Bequest

Real Estate mogul, Leona Helmsley, passed away in 2007. Helmsley left $12 million of her estate to her Maltese dog, Trouble. The will provided that after Trouble’s death, the remainder would go to the charitable foundations that had inherited most of the balance of the estate.

The dogfight started because the will had excluded two of Ms Helmsley’s grandchildren. The grandchildren brought a claim challenging the distribution of the will. As the dispute raged on, the dog Trouble had to be flown by private jet to a secret location after allegedly receiving death threats.

The judge ruled that Trouble should only receive $2 million because that amount was adequate to cover expenses for twice the dog's life expectancy. Ten million dollars ($10 million) was awarded to the two grandchildren. Trouble died four years later and the remainder of Trouble’s funds were diverted back to the Helmsley Family Trust for the benefit of the charities.

Prince Estate Still in Dispute


The Prince estate dispute rages on, like “Let’s Go Crazy.” Prince’s estate, worth $300 million dollars is in for a long battle over who really are his heirs. Dozens of people came forward claiming to be his son, daughter, or other relative. The DNA did not support those claims. The judge determined that Prince’s full sister and five half-siblings all qualified as heirs, and ordered the reported niece and grand-niece, to undergo DNA testing.