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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ind. Decisions - "Melvin Simon heirs settle estate feud"

Updating a long list of earlier ILB entries on the Melvin Simon estate dispute, Jeff Swiatek of the Indianapolis Star reports today in a long story that begins:

More than three years after Melvin Simon’s death, his nearly $2 billion estate finally will be divvied up.

How the assets will be split, however, could remain secret.

A Hamilton County judge Wednesday approved a sealed settlement in the nearly 3-year-old dispute over the division of the Simon estate, whose main holdings were shares in shopping mall giant Simon Property Group.

The settlement ends a bitter family fight over the estate of Simon, who died in 2009 at age 82.

The settling parties were Simon’s daughter Deborah Simon, who challenged his will, the court-appointed trustee of the estate and Simon’s widow, Bren Simon.

“Just and reasonable” was the way Superior Court Judge William J. Hughes characterized the settlement in a court order that came well before the scheduled summer trial date.

Caught up in the dispute were numerous Central Indiana charities, which now can expect to collect the gifts earmarked for them in the will.

Melvin Simon, who cofounded Indianapolis shopping mall developer Simon Property Group, made significant charitable pledges during his life to Indiana University, St. Vincent Hospital, Riley Children’s Foundation and Indianapolis Museum of Art, among other recipients.

The sometimes heated dispute over the will ended with a surprising absence of controversy. The judge said not a single person who had an interest in the settlement filed an objection to it.

The dispute reached the courts when Deborah Simon asked that her father’s will be invalidated, alleging that her stepmother, Bren Simon, coerced her ill husband to revise it some seven months before he died. The revised will boosted Bren Simon’s share of the inheritance and significantly reduced the portion going to her three stepchildren.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 13, 2012 09:57 AM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions