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Julie Garber

Messy Fight Expected Over Singer Jenni Rivera's Estate

By January 16, 2013

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Back on December 9, 2012, the private jet that was carrying Mexican-American banda singer Jenni Rivera crashed near a ranch in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.  The two pilots and five passengers on board, including Rivera, were killed.  Ms. Rivera was only 43 at the time of her death and in the middle of a divorce from her third husband, retired professional baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza (the divorce papers had been filed on October 1, 2012, and were still pending at the time of the singer's death). Aside from this, Ms. Rivera had five children, two of whom are still minors, and several grandchildren.

It is not known at this time if Ms. Rivera and Mr. Loaiza had a prenuptial agreement or if Ms. Rivera had a valid last will and testament and/or revocable living trust in place. However, NBCLatino has reported that Ms. Rivera wrote a letter of instruction about a month and a half before her death to her sister, Rosie, with regard to the managment of the singer's various business entities and other assets as well as care for her minor children (their father died in 2009). It may be possible under California law, where Ms. Rivera resided at the time of her death, for the letter of instruction to be construed as a valid "holographic will," but this would need to be verified by a probate judge and read in conjunction with any other estate planning documents that the singer may have signed before or after the letter was signed.

Couple all of this with a wrongful death lawsuit that has been filed as the result of the plane crash against one of Ms. Rivera's companies known as Jenni Rivera Enterprises, Inc., which alone has an estimated value of $25 million, and it is easy to anticipate multiple court battles over Ms. Rivera's estate on several different fronts.

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