Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Update on Gary Coleman's Estate

Gary ColemanTwo more documents have recently surfaced in the argument over Gary Coleman’s estate:
  • Health care power of attorney. Coleman’s health care power of attorney stated that he wanted his “life to be prolonged as long as possible within the limits of generally accepted health care standards.” Ironically, Shannon Price (who pulled the plug on Coleman just one day after his fall) is the one who filed Coleman’s health care power of attorney.
  • Living will. Coleman’s living will gave specific instructions to keep Coleman on life support for at least 15 days if he ever fell into an irreversible coma. A family member’s wishes might be able to trump a living will, but Shannon was not married to Gary at the time she made the call to pull the plug.

As for the fight over who is Coleman’s executor:

Utah District Judge James Taylor appointed Provo lawyer Robert Jeffs as the special administrator of Coleman’s estate. Jeffs says that there will be no funeral as per Coleman’s wishes evidenced in his 2005 will. Coleman’s remains have been cremated, but they will be securely stored until Judge Taylor makes a final decision regarding the estate executor.

Dion Mial, Coleman’s 1999-will-appointed executor, withdrew from the legal battle when a 2005 will surfaced naming Anna Gray as Coleman’s executor. The battle for the position of Coleman’s executor is now between Gray (appointed in Coleman’s 2005 will) and Price (given everything in a 2007 holographic codicil).

The probate court will have to investigate the validity of the 2007 holographic codicil and make sure that Coleman wasn’t under duress or undue influence when he executed it. “If the 2007 handwritten document is deemed valid, it will revoke the 2005 will with regard to any inconsistencies. The court would then have to integrate the provisions of both documents.”

Jun Li, Gary Coleman’s Holographic Will Keeps His Ashes Off the Mantel, Celebrity Justice (quoting Professor Beyer). See also Gary Coleman—Don’t Pull the Plug on Me!, TMZ, June 14, 2010; Alan Duke, Gary Coleman’s Living Will Called for 15 Days of Life Support, CNN, June 14, 2010; Elizabeth White, Attorney: No Funeral for Actor Gary Coleman, AP, June 16, 2010.

Special thanks to Matthew Harris (J.D. candidate, Texas Tech School of Law) for bringing this to my attention. 


Estate Administration, Television, Wills | Permalink

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