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Modern Love

Lawyers handling the estate of David Bowie have set a date of May 4 for anyone claiming to be a child of Bowie’s or a creditor of his estate to file a claim. The “child” part is important because the allegedly once bi-sexual Bowie left 1/4 of his estate to each of his two acknowledged children and half to his wife. The issue is that Bowie claimed to have been “incredibly promiscuous” during the 70’s and 80’s. His romances are alleged to have included Mick Jagger’s former girlfriend (Marianne Faithfull), Mick’s ex-wife (Bianca), Mick himself, Susan Sarandon, Charlie Chaplin’s widow (Oona O’Neill), and Slash’s mom. And your childhood best friend’s mom. Or dad.
Several brief points:
 
1. Under Ohio law (and Bowie would be the last person to claim residence in Ohio), creditors have six months from the date of death to file a claim against the estate for money owed by the decedent.
 
2. Illegitimate children generally can only claim from their dad’s estate if they were acknowledged by the decedent or if the child proves paternity after the death of the decedent.
 
3. In drafting estate documents for the Thin White Duke, it would have been best to specifically name the children rather than use the term “my child” which opens the door for illegitimate children to inherit.
 
4. The good part of May-December romances (i.e. Oona O’Neill) or bi-sexual couplings (yeah, we are looking at you, Mick), is that paternity is not a concern.
 
5. Bowie definitely knew about the power of charm, but he never let love walk on by.
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Shake Down the Thunder

aubrey mclendonAubrey McLendon was an Oklahoma City businessman who made his fortune in the energy business. He died in a March auto accident the day after he was indicted for allegedly rigging the price of oil and gas leases. He also owned 20% of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Attorneys for one of the lenders to his business have already filed motions in the probate court asking for input into the sale price of his interest in the NBA team. They fear the estate will sell it to his widow for less than the maximum price even though it is not currently for sale. They stated that the primary purpose of the probate court is to protect the interest of creditors.
 
Several quick points:
 
1. Under Ohio law, creditors have six months from the date of death to file a claim to protect their interest.
 
2. Once the claim is filed, they sit back and wait for the estate to be settled. Distributions may not be made until the creditor’s claim has been paid.
 
3. I love it when high priced corporate lawyers bring their white shoes, prestigious degrees, high billable rates, and commensurate bluster to the serene probate area where the purpose, contrary to their belief about protecting creditors, is to ensure the orderly transfer of assets pursuant to a decedent’s wishes in due time. Actually, I do not love it – I find it annoying.
 

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All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.