Mickey Rooney, whose career spanned an impressive nine decades, passed away recently of natural causes.
Unfortunately, conflict started before his family had even had his funeral. This doesn’t come as a surprise: Mickey had been married eight times and had nine children; he disinherited all of them.
However, what does come as a surprise is the matter of the conflict. His disinherited family members weren’t fighting over the estate itself, as it was only worth about $18,000.
Instead, his family was fighting over where he would be buried.
His wife, Jan, and her son, Christopher Aber, wanted Rooney to be interred at Westlake Village Cemetery next to a plot for Jan.
However, Rooney’s stepson, Mark Rooney, and his wife, Charlene, stated that Rooney wanted to be buried in a veterans or Hollywood cemetery.
Mickey disinherited his other children not for personal reasons but because he knew that they were better off, financially, than he was. He did, however, have a strained relationship with his wife and her son.
In 2011, Mickey filed an elder abuse lawsuit against Christopher Aber, claiming that Aber took advantage of his finances. Jan took her son’s side in the lawsuit.
Mickey had been living with Mark and his wife for several years before his death, and they were taking care of him. Mark is also the beneficiary of Mickey’s estate.
Fortunately, the feud has ended as quickly as it began. Hours before the scheduled court hearing, the family reached a settlement.
An important lesson can be learned from Mickey Rooney: create a detailed estate plan. Explicitly outlining your last wishes can reduce the chances of a family feud. Make sure that you include your last wishes for your funeral as well as the distribution of your possessions. Consider adding a letter explaining your decisions, which can help minimize any hurt feelings.
Photo credit: Flickr contributor, Truus, Bob & Jan too!