A few months ago, this column addressed the massive financial award granted in the Max Hopper estate case. This was the highest amount awarded in an estate litigation case for the year 2017 and the ninth highest estate litigation payout granted in United States history. The defendant in the case continued to fight the matter, and it seems that a financial settlement has finally been reached between all parties. How is this relevant to New Jersey residents? It shows that estate litigation can take time but has its benefits.
In Nov. 2017, a jury awarded the children of Max Hopper -- a former American Airlines executive and creator of the company's reservation system -- $8 billion after JP Morgan Chase allegedly messed up the distribution of his estate -- valued at $19 million. JP Morgan was hired to handle the estate after Mr. Hopper died without a will in place. The bank has and still does deny any wrongdoing and has refused to accept such a huge payout.
According to a recent report, a private settlement was reached between all involved parties. The final payout expected is believed to be closer to $90 million. The final details of the settlement have not been released to the public.
No one wants to deal with estate litigation, but sometimes, it cannot be avoided. If an assigned executor is failing in his or her duties, beneficiaries have a right to question his or her actions and seek compensation for any losses resulting from those actions -- just as was done in the Max Hopper estate case. It may take time to resolve such matters, but with legal assistance, those closing out estates in New Jersey can do everything possible to make sure it is done right.
Source: investmentnews.com, "8B jury 'message' to JPMorgan for mismanaging estate will likely be lowered", April 5, 2018