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Probate litigation over royalty payments is temporarily on hold

Estate disputes in Ohio and other states can involve the ongoing responsibilities of an estate's executor to the decedent's family. The most famous estate dispute involving an entertainer in recent years has been the dispute that arose over Prince's death without a will, leaving even the identity of all his heirs in doubt. However, disputes and probate litigation can arise when the artist dies with a will, as shown in the estate of famous blues musician Muddy Waters.

Waters died back in 1983. His manager, Scott Cameron, was the executor of his estate. In that capacity, he was responsible for sending royalty payments to Waters' family members. Cameron himself died in 2015. The family members successfully petitioned to reopen the estate when they allegedly discovered irregularities in the royalty payments they received.

The family filed a recent lawsuit, claiming that Cameron's company diverted over $2 million in royalties that were supposed to go to the family. The widow of Cameron denied the allegations, but she failed to attend a telephone conference with the probate judge. Recently, the family announced that it was holding off on bringing contempt charges against the widow.

The attorney for Waters' family members advised the court recently that the family had asked him not to pursue a contempt citation against the widow at this time. He advised the judge that the family would meet in June to discuss the case and their intentions. The judge responded by setting a July court date to update matters. This is not an unusual break in the action, and it may result in negotiations between the parties for a resolution of the probate litigation. Estate litigation of this sort, not necessarily including the celebrity factor, is common in the Ohio probate courts.

Source: chicagotribune.com, "Muddy Waters' heirs back off on contempt claim as dispute over bluesman's estate continues in DuPage", Clifford Ward, May 9, 2018

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