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Will contest ends in $8.5 million settlement

Famed billionaire Kirk Kerkorian spent his life investing in a variety of businesses across the United States -- including in the automakers that have made parts of Michigan so famous. He was also key in developing many properties in Las Vegas and many businesses in other industries throughout the United States. However, last June Kerkorian died at the age of 98.

Following his death, a 17-year-old girl has filed a will contest. The girl claims that she is entitled to some of Kerkorian's estate because she is his biological daughter. However, Kerkorian never recognize the girl as his daughter during his lifetime. According to reports, the man was married to her mother for around one month in the late 1990s. Since that time, the man apparently developed a relationship with the girl and provided for her.

According to the girl's attorneys, the will was changed in July 2013 when the man's health had already started to fade. They argued that he would've been highly susceptible to the people around him while creating that will.

Recently, the parties have reached a settlement about the will dispute. Under the terms of the settlement, the girls will receive $8.5 million. The money will be placed in a trust created on the girl's behalf. The agreement was created by the girl's guardian ad litem. However, the girl -- who turns 18 this week -- wanted more time to hire her own attorney after her birthday. She was uncertain whether the agreement was in her best interest. However, the court approved the settlement without waiting for the girl to turn 18. Therefore, the will contest will be dismissed.

Probate issues can be expensive and time-consuming for Michigan families. It is important that estate planning documents are created according to Michigan laws in order to avoid these types of contests. Individuals should understand their legal rights when they believe undue influence or some other behavior has influenced the creation of a will.

Source: Beverly Hills Patch, "Teen Given Portion of Kirk Kerkorian's Fortune," Alexander Nguyen, March 2, 2016

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