Hackard Law - Estate Planning
Call for free initial consultation.

916-229-6991

We speak Spanish and Russian.

Sumner Redstone | Estate Lawsuit Settled

Sumner Redstone Estate Lawsuit Settled.jpgPhoto Credit: Kingkongphoto

It looks like the long estate battle between 95-year-old billionaire Viacom owner Sumner Redstone and his former live-in girlfriend Manuela Herzer has finally come to an end. Yesterday the two sides reached a settlement agreement, and just in time - the parties were about to enter into a second round of litigation over Herzer being removed from Redstone's will in 2015.

When Redstone kicked Herzer out of his life, he also took back the $70 million worth of assets he had allocated to her in his estate and nullified her status as holder of his advanced health care directive. The entire episode led to turbulence in Redstone's corporate media empire, from the board of Viacom to CBS.

Herzer sought to restore her position in Redstone's estate, along with that $70 million she had lost. She contended in her lawsuit that Redstone was mentally incompetent and had been unduly influenced by his daughter Shari, who has since managed to assume control of Viacom's leadership. While that particular bid failed in 2016, the entertainment kingpin then counter-sued, alleging elder abuse by Herzer and another ex-girlfriend. At the end of last year, the court appointed a guardian for Redstone due to his increasingly apparent incapacity.

The settlement, which still must be approved by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, appears to be decisively in Redstone's favor. Herzer, who at one time resided in the media mogul's Beverly Park mansion and spent a fortune's worth on travel and extravagant shopping sprees, must now pay back $3.25 million to Redstone. That's a far cry from just two years ago, when the Redstone family proposed $30 million to Herzer to cease litigation and any other claims on the estate. Instead, she pressed forward and now finds herself in a disadvantageous position.

Hindsight is 20/20, but Herzer and her attorneys must regret not settling for a comfortable $30 million when they had the opportunity. Instead, she is now obligated to return over $3 million for the various gifts she received as Redstone's girlfriend. If there's one thing I stress as an estate and trust litigator, it's to reconcile whenever possible while protecting core interests. In this case, it looks like all the wealth spent on lawsuits just bought more unhappiness.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Rated By Super Lawyers Michael A.Hackard SuperLawyers.com AV PREEMINENT Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Ratings Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Litigation Million Dollar Advocates Forum Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum Top Attorneys In Sacramento Lead Counsel | LC | Rated Hackard Law A Professional Law Corporation BBB Business Review Best Real Estate
Lawyers in
Sacramento
2016

*AV Preeminent is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters.