Uncertainty and a need for control can often drive many people's motivations. When a loved one passes away and the remaining estate needs to be settled, it is not unusual for surviving loved ones to wind up in conflict over who should control the estate or at least portions of it. In some cases, probate litigation may be necessary in order to get to the bottom of the issues.
Texas readers may be interested in this type of conflict currently affecting the estate of late musician Tom Petty. Reports indicated that the dispute is between Petty's daughter Adria and his widow, Dana York Petty. Because Petty was such a prolific musical artist, numerous songs that he created had not been released at the time of his death in 2017. As a result, multiple record labels have created compilations and catalogs of his works, two of which have been released. The estate dispute is putting plans on hold indefinitely to release additional works.
Apparently, the issues revolve around who has control of Petty's catalog of music. York Petty was named as the sole trustee of a trust and was given the authority to create an entity that would handle the catalog. As per the trust instructions, the entity should include equal participation from York Petty, Adria and Petty's other daughter Annakim. The daughters believe that "equal participation" means that the two of them could control the entity as a two-thirds majority, but York Petty believes that all three parties should equally consent to a professional manager handling the catalog. Both Dana York Petty and Adria Petty have filed petitions with the court.
It is unfortunate that the passing of a loved one can spark disputes, but it is also not unusual. Emotions can run high when it comes to handling a loved one's remaining affairs, and some Texas residents may feel that they need to fight to ensure that their loved one's legacies are not tarnished. Parties in this type of situation may wish to discuss their probate litigation options with experienced legal professionals.