The estate, trust, and probate disputes and lawsuits that one reads about in the newspapers and which we commonly see in our law practice can seem like a television or movie drama. Common threads running through these battles frequently include prominent characters in the community, tales of large sums of money flying around, allegations of complex conspiracies, questions regarding how a person died, disputes about the execution of certain documents, and claims of fraud and other wrongdoing. In fact, these are probably the same human elements and reasons why I tend to find this area of law so interesting. Perhaps it is also the reason why a new book and television series are coming out relating to these estate, trust and probate battles.
Specifically, two Michigan lawyers, Andrew and Danielle Mayoras (who also author the Probate Lawyer Blog) have written Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights which is described as a book containing "juicy details on famous cases." While giving the reader "a front row seat in the courtroom," the authors also seek to "replay the scenarios and point out what went wrong, the winners and losers, and what you can learn from it." The book is available for purchase at the above link.
Also, the December 2, 2009 entry on the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog reports that a Canadian-based TV production company is shooting a new documentary series entitled "The Will," which will apparently reveal "the true life stories of complex and surprising disputes that have arisen surrounding a will, estate or trust." The link summarizes how to participate in the series or submit a case that you think they should profile, and states that "they are looking for dramatic, unusual stories with numerous twists and turns, secrets and real emotion." Most estate, trust and probate battles that we have handled seem to meet that criteria, but apparently one condition for being profiled in the TV series is that the cases must have reached a final decision or settlement in order to be considered.