We are picking up where we left off (here) with our discussion of the lawsuits over Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney’s will. When Rooney died in April, his widow, Jan, told the press she had not seen him for a year. It seems the couple had separated after Rooney accused Jan of elder abuse. They reportedly signed a settlement agreement that included a stipulation that Jan stay away from her husband.
The will left his entire estate to his stepson Mark Aber. Aber, who is Jan’s son, took care of Rooney during the last years of his life, after Rooney accused Aber’s brother Christopher of financial and verbal abuse. The list of people not named as heirs did not stop there: None of Rooney’s biological children were included, nor were Christopher or Jan. The estate was valued at $18,000.
Jan is contesting the will — she claims undue influence and fraud — and asks the court to recognize instead the will Rooney executed 11 years ago. The will in probate now was signed just a few weeks before Rooney died.
The fraud and undue influence claims are not the only reasons Jan is suing. She also argues that she should be Rooney’s sole heir under California law. California is a community property state, and she and Rooney were still married when he died. That means, she says, that any property in his name should now transfer to her.
Jan’s is not the only lawsuit filed. The other claim comes from seven of Rooney’s eight biological children. We will discuss their arguments in our next post.
People, “Mickey Rooney’s Children Challenge His Will in Court,” Champ Clark, May 13, 2014
Radar Online, “Mickey Rooney’s Wife Claims She CAN’T Be Cut From His Will — She Owns Half Of It!,” May 15, 2014