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Tom Petty’s estate caught up in litigation

| Apr 11, 2019 | Estate Planning |

Tom Petty famously got his start here in Florida, so many here have avidly followed his career and took great pride in his successes. We also mourned when he died in 2017. While some time has passed, the Petty estate is now in the news because the rocker’s second wife, Dana Petty, is involved in a dispute with Petty’s daughters Adria Petty and Annakim Violette from a previous marriage.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Dana is the directing trustee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s estate, but there are suits on both sides filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court over control of the estate.

The wife of 16 years claims that the daughters have made it impossible to conduct the business of running the artist’s estate, including the release of two posthumous recordings. She singled out the erratic behavior of Adria Petty, age 44, as particularly challenging. The widow is asking for a manager to be hired to run the estate as well as an agreement where all decisions are made by the consensus of the three of them, so the daughters cannot overrule her by a two-to-one majority.

The daughters claim that the widow is pushing the daughters out of the decision-making process involving estate matters. They add that an LLC established by Petty’s will in 2018 to manage artistic properties has not been funded. By not funding the LLC, the daughters claim that the wife is not following the directions outlined in the will, which left the estate in the hands of the trustee for six months to pay off debts and expenses incurred before creating the LLC.

Resolving a dispute equitably

Despite the high-profile nature of this dispute, families can become immersed in similar disagreements involving control of an estate, trust or the dispersal of money, even when the amounts are thousands instead of millions. This can lead to legal disputes where an attorney can guide family members through the process. Its best to avoid the time and expense of court, but sometimes litigation is necessary to enforce the wishes of the deceased and protect the rights of the beneficiaries.