Since a dispute over the late George Michael’s estate arose between the late pop star’s family and his lover, the media and legal analysts alike have been waiting with baited breath on whether a probate litigation battle will ensue.
For the uninitiated, there is no love lost between Michael’s family (particularly his sisters) Fadi Fawaz, whom he had a relationship with. Tensions had been so bad that Fawaz was not invited to funeral services put on by the family.
Tensions could boil over as Michael’s estate is probated. No filings of yet have been made in a United States or United Kingdom court, and Fawaz reportedly still lives in the townhouse he shared with Michael in London, even though Fawaz was not named a beneficiary in Michael’s will. Fawaz contends that Michael insisted that he live in the townhouse, but Michael’s family sharply disputes this notion, especially when Fawaz only has the word of his deceased lover to rely on.
If Michael’s family chooses to initiate legal action to evict Fawaz from the home, the purported verbal agreement would not hold up to legal scrutiny. But at the same time, legal proceedings would require the will to be filed in probate court, which would make it accessible to the public (particularly the media), and it is unlikely that the family would want public scrutiny of Michael’s memory.
The story exemplifies the need for skilled probate litigation attorneys who are adept at finding out-of-court solutions for potentially high profile estate disputes.