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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I have worked in entertainment since I was a kid, behind the

Resolved Question:

I have worked in entertainment since I was a kid, behind the scenes for celebrities and producers. I have developed a tight knit relationship with many old celebrities. Sadly, I am seeing them get ill and pass from time to time.

There is one lady (lets call her Mary) that I became very close to, where she would refer to me as her 'daughter' as she had no kids of her own. She was also a paying client.

Things started to go south when her best friend, another "name" in show biz that i was very close to became ill. (lets call her Jane) I didn't like how Mary treated Jane. Mary would make jokes about slipping her poison constantly. I would laugh at it but she was serious. Jane had dementia and would ask the same questions over and over again. Mary didn't have any patience for that as she is very busy, and still a working actress. Mary got her signed off as incompetant and got control of her estate. She soon shipped her off to a nursing home in another state and stole items from her.

Jane was married to another hollywood actor many years before and had an agreement that when Jane passed that all her house and belongings belonged to her ex husband's kids. Mary didn't like Jane's ex-husband at all and felt that Jane was always a wimp in that relationship.

So Mary did all she can to spend Jane's money. Meanwhile I asked to take care of Jane and Mary said no... they said its too much to take care of her and too much a pain in the butt so it was best to ship her off to another state.

They did that and pretty much took what they felt was of value. I witnessed this and felt really badly that I had such low moral and character that i allowed her to do it.

Mary's housekeeper would put the items in my car to take to Mary's house and I didn't stop it. I was afraid of being ex-ed out of the circle of friends that I was so close to.

The following year a fight happened between Mary and me, I feel it was really because I couldn't stand to see her anymore. So I cut all ties with her. Jane died a few months later. I haven't talked to anyone of Jane's ex or her step kids since. I am so afraid as they all believe Mary is a saint (she is a good actress).

I feel like I should somehow contact Jane's ex-husband or kids and let them know but I am scared. What do I do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TexLaw replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question.

In your situation, there are two things to consider. The first is whether or not you become exposed to liability by reporting this situation to Jane's ex-husband and kids. The legal issue that arises here is called "defamation." If you told the storey above in specific to Jane's ex-husband then you could potentially be sued for defamation by Mary. That being said, you could proceed to inform Jane's ex-husband or children about the situation, but first you should get them to sign some sort of non-disclosure agreement in which they promise to not disclose that you told them this information unless they file suit against Mary.

The next issue is whether there is anything that would or could result from you telling Jane's ex or kids. The answer is, not really. Although you feel that there was some bad behavior when Mary arranged to spend money and take property which belonged to Jane, because you are talking about this taking place over time, this would be a case that might be barred by the statute of limitations. Essentially, the claim would be a claim for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust against Mary which would be held by Jane's estate. The supposed beneficiaries of the estate might have the right to bring that claim. Again, however, this sounds like it might have taken place too long ago for there to be a claim within the statute of limitations. The other issue is that Jane's ex-husband and/or kids might not have any standing to bring this claim. You did not indicate that there was a will, but I would imagine that if Mary was actually doing all this stuff under the pre-tense of illegality, she has probably got the estate documents set up to exclude both the ex and the kids from having any benefits of the estate.

In short, you might as well tell the ex-husband under an agreement that he won't say that you disclosed the storey, but don't expect that anything will actually come out of it.

Please let me know if you have further questions on this matter.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for that very informative reply.

Yes Jane had a will and a living trust. This was signed as irrevocable many years ago when she was divorcing her ex husband. that is what the issue was based on.

Mary was mad that Jane agreed to give back the house and the estate belongings to her step kids. but she did it because she really loved them. Mary felt they were not deserving. She felt another lady who became the trustee of her estate deserved it. However, anyone can know this person was a star-chaser. She only was so close to her because of her celebrity status. it was very clear. Mary became close to this person because she is assistant to an a-list actor and Mary's status wasnt that big.

Its a complicated matter. I wish i could spill all the names and it would make sense easier but like you said im afraid of liability. my issues now are guilt for staying silent.

i am afraid of retaliation. i dont put anything past these people. they have fame, power and control over many just because they have a name.

how would one go about the non disclosure? What if they say no?

I know there was some dispute from a lawyer when Jane was still alive from her ex. i was in the middle of that too. i kept thinking i should talk to him. do you think i should find that info again and dig it up?
Expert:  TexLaw replied 4 years ago.
The non-disclosure agreement can be very sensitive. It would go like "I have information about Jane's estate that I think you would be interested in hearing, but before I can tell you about it, I need you to sign a confidentiality agreement for my own protection." If they don't want to sign, then you have to walk away.

The attorney angle is interesting. If you go to an attorney and tell him your storey, then it is not going to be turned into a defamation suit against you. I think it would be a good idea to see if you could find that information and talk to the lawyer.

Best of luck,
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