The current fight over Sumner Redstone's competency and his decision to oust Viacom's CEO, Philippe Dauman, from his family's trust and holding company is something of a media circus and a three-way battle between Redstone, Dauman, and Redstone's daughter, Shari Redstone. The battle is not only being waged in court, but also in the media, both in the mainstream press and in the tabloids.
As it has been going on, Viacom's stock price has taken a severe hit to the dismay of shareholders. But, even if shareholders are not profiting, someone else is as the New York Post reports in "Sumner Redstone's legal saga has lawyers rolling in cash."
To the surprise of the judge in the case at a recent hearing 22 lawyers stood up to make an appearance. As costly as it is to have a lawyer appear in court, it is almost certain there is an even greater cost in paying all of the lawyers who did not appear in court but who are likely working on the case in the large law firms that represent the parties.
Public relations firms are also profiting from the situation as they have been hired to help control the narrative in the media.
A lesson to be learned from this situation is that it is extremely costly anytime an elderly person's competency has to be litigated in court. While it is unclear what could have been done differently to prevent the Redstone situation, many other competency battles, in Cincinnati or elsewhere, can be prevented by making sure you have powers of attorney in place long before you might need them.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: New York Post (June 11, 2016) "Sumner Redstone's legal saga has lawyers rolling in cash."