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Muhammad Ali's Estate | Litigation Battle Averted

Muhammad Ali Estate.jpgMuhammad Ali was larger than life. At the time of his death three years ago in 2016 at the age of 74, he was known for his humanitarian work, his deep religious conviction, his opposition to the Vietnam War, and his remarkable boxing career for which he was known to many as "The Greatest of All Time."

Whether or not he was the most famous human on earth, as he himself once claimed, Ali was indisputably one of the most beloved international celebrities. In his later years, he had Parkinson's Disease, a direct result of repeated blows to his head received during his boxing career. Because he had obvious cognitive decline because he was married four times and because he had at least nine children who reportedly did not get along with each other, Ali's estate was ripe for what many observers called a looming "World War III."

As I wrote about in my recent book, Alzheimer's, Widowed Stepmothers & Estate Crimes, anytime a wealthy senior has dementia or some other brain disease, the likelihood that someone will come forward to challenge the will or trust greatly increases. Why? Because when huge fortunes are at stake, disgruntled heirs and beneficiaries can use the medical issue as a lever to force an estate to re-allocate inheritance shares. The argument goes like this: dad or grandpa had Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, so he wasn't in his right mind when he signed his will. That means the documents don't reflect his true wishes or desires. The only way to rectify the injustice is to contest the will.

Ali's $80 million estate could easily have been eaten away by a long legal battle, but surprisingly that did not happen. Instead, a "fragile peace" formed between the feuding family members. Perhaps each came to realize that the potential gains were small while the potential losses were large.

In the end, cooler heads prevailed. Each of Ali's seven daughters and two sons received $6 million, while Ali's widow, his fourth wife, received approximately $12 million as well as the couple's mansion in Michigan and other property.

Fortunately for everyone, Ali's last fight was not fought in Probate Court.

Before you go, please let me know if you'd like to receive a free copy of my first book, The Wolf at the Door, or my new book, Alzheimer's, Widowed Stepmothers & Estate Crimes. Just send your address in an email to me at [email protected], and I'll be glad to put one in the mail.

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