Individuals often create estate plans in hopes of making the process of closing the estate and managing affairs easier. However, New York residents cannot control how their surviving loved ones will actually handle those tasks, and it is common for conflict to arise over estate-related matters. Even with instructions from an estate plan, parties can have a difficult time discerning exact meaning, and some may file for probate litigation to get a final answer from the court.
One daughter and the widow of late musician Tom Petty are now at odds over how his remaining musical catalog should be managed. Petty apparently created a trust naming Dana York Petty, his widow, as the sole trustee, but he reportedly also indicated that she and his two daughters, Adria and Annakim, should have equal participation in creating an entity to control the musical catalog. However, the daughters apparently interpret “equal participation” to mean that they could have controlling power over the catalog through a two-thirds majority.
Dana York Petty believes that all three women should have an equal say in appointing a professional manager to handle the catalog. She also indicated in a court petition that Adria has already caused conflict by taking action without consulting the other parties. Adria has also filed a petition in efforts to obtain effective control over the catalog. The dispute has put plans on hold relating to the release of previously unheard songs from the late musician.
Probate litigation can certainly put numerous plans on hold, including settling an estate as a whole. Still, as this case shows, it may be unavoidable if serious conflicts over an estate arise. New York residents who are facing such difficulties while trying to attend to final affairs may want to consider their own legal options.