On October 25, 2012

When someone dies and their assets weren’t designated to specific beneficiaries, probate is required. Dividing a loved one’s estate after they’ve passed can be often times be an emotional situation, especially when there are a lot of valuables involved.

In the case of Jeno Paulucci and his wife, Lois, a battle of their estate is still being fought almost one year after their deaths. The couple appointed new trustees to their $100 million trusts just six weeks before dying. Jeno built his estate with food products in grocery stores in Colorado and the rest of the U.S. including Chun King, Jeno’s Pizza Rolls, Luigino’s frozen dinners, and Michelina’s.

The Pauluccis’ adult children maintain their parents were “manipulated on their death beds” into the decision of firing their long-time Minneapolis, Minnesota, attorneys and assigning new trustees, both of whom are from Florida. Their three children, all beneficiaries of the trusts, believe they have the right to replace the new trustees with those previously working for the family.

Among Paulucci’s estate are large pieces of real estate in Minnesota and Florida, rare paintings and artwork, luxury vehicles and furniture. The problem in this particular case is that Minnesota and Florida have very different probate laws. In Minnesota, only adult beneficiaries are required to make the decision of removing trustees from a will. Whereas in Florida, the consent of minors as well as adult beneficiaries is needed, and one of the Paulucci’s daughters does not want the new trustees off of the will.

Settling the estate of a loved one is inevitably a stressful process, and although it shouldn’t always warrant the help of an attorney, legal advisement may be necessary. It’s important to know the probate laws in your state and understand that there are experienced attorneys to help you through the difficult time of a death in the family.

Source: Star Tribune, “Jeno Paulucci money in nasty court dispute,” Abby Simons, Oct. 20, 2012

  • Our firm has attorneys who are extremely well-versed in the areas of probate and estate planning. Please visit our estate and trust page for more information on our group.

Categories: Probate Litigation

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