New York Nonprofit Settles Estate Lawsuit Involving Former Detroit Piston’s Owner

A New York nonprofit group is among those that have successfully taken legal action against the estate of Williamson Davidson, the former owner of the Detroit Pistons.

Davidson died last year, leaving an estate valued at $5.5 billion. A total of three lawsuits have been filed in Oakland County Circuit Court and all have been quietly settled, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Best known as the owner of the Detroit Pistons basketball team, Davidson had philanthropic and business interests all over the world.

While some blame the economy for the reported increase in estate challenges, there are frequently very legitimate reasons for challenging the settlement of an estate in probate court. The Areivim Philanthropic group, a New York nonprofit, filed suit claiming Davidson was one of the group’s founders and had reportedly pledged $5 million in support.

Frequently it is the nonprofits that find themselves on the outside looking in for a variety of reasons, such as estate heirs who seek to prevent large estate donations to churches or other charitable organizations. Estate claims and challenges should always be handled by an experienced probate attorney in New York City. The organization settled for an undisclosed amount of money after its claim for the money was not paid by the estate.

In this case, various reports indicate the estate settlement may have been complicated by Davidson’s four marriages, children and step children. Further complicating the issue, is that much of his wealth was tied up in the Detroit Pistons and Guardian Industries, his privately owned glass-making company.

Frequently, a family business must be sold to settle an unplanned estate. Proper estate planning in New York can provide heirs with the means to pay estate taxes and other obligations without liquidating major assets.

New York City Probate Attorney Jules Martin Haas handles all types of probate cases, including Wills, estate planning, estate settlement, advanced directives and guardianship matters. Please call me at (212) 355-2575 for a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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