Onetime Movie Star Making Bid to Reclaim Control of His Estate

For many people in California who are considering creating a trust want to make sure that the person they name as the administrator is someone trustworthy who is willing to handle the trust fairly — without an attempt to enrich himself at the same time. There are allegations that this has happened in the case of a former movie star who now accuses his stepson of breaching his fiduciary duty in mismanaging his affairs and abusing him.

Mickey Rooney, once one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, alleges in court papers that his estranged wife’s son and daughter-in-law withheld food and medication from him and also took control of his finances for the purposes of enriching themselves. A year and a half ago, a probate court judge named Rooney’s attorney as his conservator, taking Rooney’s affairs out of the hands of his alleged abusers.

The attorney has now gotten approval to sell Rooney’s longtime Westlake Village home in order to shore up Rooney’s finances as well as address Rooney’s health concerns. The actor was no longer able to climb the stairs at his home. Rooney will receive $500,000 in the deal, with his wife receiving a similar amount; the two are planning to live apart but not divorce at this time.

Rooney, who is now 92, is one of the few surviving actors from Hollywood’s silent film era. Despite his age and relatively low profile, Rooney has continued to act and is optimistic that the new arrangement will get him more work in show business.

Source: Daily News, “Mickey Rooney’s home to be sold for $1.3M to West Hills firm,” Bill Hetherman, March 4, 2013