Heath Ledger's Life Insurance Lawsuit Settled
Heath Ledger's life insurance company, ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, has settled a lawsuit over a $10 million policy claim on behalf of Ledger's daughter, Matilda Rose. The lawsuit was brought by Ledger's former attorney, John S. LaViolette, after ReliaStar claimed it wanted to investigate the possibility that Heath Ledger's death was a suicide (which would nix a life insurance payout). At the time, officials had already found that Ledger died from an accidental prescription-drug overdose.
William Shernoff, the attorney handling the case for LaViolette and Matilda Rose, didn't waste much time in going public with claims that the insurer was dragging its feet, issuing a press release stating, "There's a young girl whose father died who is entitled to this money, and ReliaStar is doing everything it can to avoid paying."
Although terms and details on the suit's settlement have not been released, Shernoff's tone changed considerably in his announcement today, "The parties are pleased that they were able to reach an amicable settlement and solve the dispute." For those wondering what's going to happen to the money, considering that the beneficiary is 3-year-old Matilda Rose, the AP clarified that "Ledger's attorneys are seeking a closed hearing next month to establish a court guardian to represent [her]."
There are various different types of guardianships, but with minors they usually involve guardianship of the minor themself (a guardianship over their "person"), a guardianship over their property and assets (their "estate"), or a combination of both. When it comes to assets, guardians have a duty to look after the minor's personal property, assure the proper education and care for the child, and preserve excess funds and assets.
- AP: Heath Ledger insurance suit settles
- Reuters: Settlement reached on Heath Ledger's life insurance
- AP: Heath Ledger's Ex-Lawyer And Insurance Company Spar Over Payout (The Huffington Post)
- Heath Ledger's Estate: Why Daughter Matilda, Who Was Left Nothing in Her Father's Will, Might Have a Claim to Everything (FindLaw's Writ)
- Establishing Legal Guardianship (provided by Jennifer C. Rydberg, Attorney at Law)
- How Guardianships Work FAQ (FindLaw)