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Martin Luther King Jr's estate drops lawsuit against daughter

For the past several years, Martin Luther King Jr's heirs have been involved in public disputes over how some of his possessions should be handled and who has the right to use his likeness and name. The disputes have largely centered around the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which is headed by King's daughter, and his two sons who hold places on the estate's board.

Just days before the scheduled trial, the estate dropped the lawsuit against the center, which was trying to get the courts to revoke the center's right to use King's name in its title. The center would also have not been able to display King's possession, including speeches he wrote and his crypt. The lawsuit had originally claimed that the center was not able to care for the artifacts properly and was exposing them to mold and other hazards.

In a statement, King's sons claimed that they ordered the estate to drop the lawsuit because their parents would not have wanted a public trial. The three siblings are reportedly working on rebuilding their relationship and working together in the future. However, another lawsuit involving King's daughter and his Bible and Nobel Peace Prize is still set to go trial. Whether that suit will also be dropped remains to be seen.

While many New Jersey residents may believe that family disputes after a loved one's death are unlikely, they happen every day. Emotions are running high, and even a minor dispute can spiral out of control quickly. When this happens, an estate administration attorney can help those involved better understand their options and how things may be resolved.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Martin Luther King's sons drop one of two lawsuits over father's legacy" Jenny Jarvie, Jan. 22, 2015

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