Martin Luther King, Jr.
As a civil rights activist who faced death threats, it's surprising that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn't make a will. And while Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, today his family is still fighting over control of his estate. It was only a few years ago that the King children were at odds abouthow the corporation that had been set up to oversee the estate was being run. More recently they have started a battle over his Nobel Peace Prize medal and personal traveling Bible - his daughter wants to keep them and his sons want to sell them.
A top earning dead celebrity as recently as 2011
, singer/songwriter Jimi Hendrix
died in 1970 at the young age of 32. Without a will, Mr. Hendrix's estate ended up in the hands of his father, Al Hendrix, after a battle with two children the singer/songwriter allegedly fathered out of wedlock. Sadly, after Al Hendrix died in 2002, his other children fought over the rights to their famous brother's estate
due allegations that Al Hendrix was unduly influenced
to change his will to disinherit
Jimi's brother, Leon.
Shortly after eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes died in 1976, a handwritten willsurfaced that was being held by an official of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. Dubbed the "Mormon Will," it left $1.56 billion to several charities; nearly $470 million to executives of Hughes' companies and his aides; $156 million to Hughes' first cousin, William Lummis; $156 million split equally between his two ex-wives, Ella Rice and Jean Peters; and $156 million to a gas-station owner named Melvin Dummar. Dummar claimed that he had met Hughes at his gas station in 1967 and had driven the billionaire to Las Vegas. A few days later a mysterious man appeared at the gas station and gave a document to Dummar for safekeeping, which turned out to be Mr. Hughes' will which Dummar then gave to the church official. A trial was held in Las Vegas in 1978 in which a jury determined that the Mormon Will was a forgery, so in the end 22 intestate heirs inherited Mr. Hughes' massive estate.