Lawyers from Holland & Knight have successfully obtained admission of Mickey Rooney's last will to probate over a challenge filed by seven of his eight natural children. Mr. Rooney had entrusted the protection of his legacy to Michael Augustine, who served as Mr. Rooney's conservator during the last four years of his life, rather than to any of his biological children.
Mr. Augustine has now been appointed the executor of Mr. Rooney's estate and will dedicate his efforts to using Mr. Rooney's name and likeness in ways that will honor and acknowledge the tremendous impact of this icon from Hollywood's golden age. The income earned from Mr. Rooney's estate will be used to repay all of Mr. Rooney's remaining debts and for the benefit of Mark and Charlene Rooney, the sole beneficiaries of Mr. Rooney's estate. Mr. Rooney had wanted to honor Mark and Charlene for their dedicated care during his final years and for helping him escape a cycle of elder abuse that he had suffered prior to Mr. Augustine's appointment as his conservator.
Holland & Knight attorneys Bruce S. Ross and Richard W. Petty represented Michael Augustine during the will contest. Mr. Ross said, "We are deeply gratified that Mr. Rooney's final wishes have been ratified and that his legacy will be honored by those Mr. Rooney selected. I know that he would have been pleased with the outcome."
Holland & Knight attorneys also represented Mr. Rooney and Mr. Augustine in the conservatorship proceedings and in an elder abuse action against Mr. Rooney's abusers. The elder abuse action resulted in entry of a $2,865,000 judgment in Mr. Rooney's favor and the recovery of memorabilia and other personal property.