The sons and widow of TV dad Alan Thicke are waging a legal war over his estate, with both sides accusing the other of betraying the late actor's wishes.
Thicke's eldest sons, Robin and Brennan, on Tuesday filed a complaint in L.A. Superior Court, seeking to enforce their father's living trust. They contend that his widow, Bolivian-born actress Tanya Callau, is attempting to annul a prenuptial agreement in order to claim a larger portion of their father's estate.
Callau's attorney, meanwhile, argues that she is not trying to invalidate the agreement, "even though it may be the worst document I've ever seen drafted by a lawyer."
"Tanya has never sought anything more than what her husband intended," said the attorney, Adam Streisand.
The 69-year-old star of "Growing Pains" died in December of an aortic rupture while playing hockey.
At the center of the dispute is Thicke's 11-acre ranch in Carpinteria, Calif. In their complaint, the sons state that Thicke bought the property in 1989 and intended to keep it "in his family forever." But, the suit states that Callau now "claims that Alan repeatedly promised to leave the Ranch to her."
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Thicke had a living trust, the most recent version of which was signed in February 2016, that divided the ownership of the ranch equally among his three sons: Robin, Brennan, and Carter. The trust also provided that Callau may continue living there for as long as she continues to pay the full cost of its upkeep, including mortgage payments.
The trust also provides that Callau is the beneficiary of a $500,000 life insurance policy and Thicke's union pension and death benefits, and gets an additional 40% of Thicke's remaining estate.
Before Thicke married Callau, his third wife, in 2005, they entered into a prenuptial agreement. That document appears to conflict with the provisions of the trust. The prenuptial agreement grants Callau 25% of the actor's entire estate and five acres of the Carpinteria property. Callau's attorney contends that she is also entitled to certain community property.
Thicke's sons filed the suit after negotiations broke down.
"We have been working on this since very shortly after Alan's death, when we started getting claims that 'The prenup's not valid, he promised X, Y and Z,'" says the sons' attorney, Alex Weingarten. "We have been making every effort to resolve it, but it takes two to tango. It became very clear that as of right now that was not going to happen."
Streisand said the conflict between the prenuptial agreement and the living trust demonstrates that the documents were "not exactly the work of brilliant legal minds."
"It's a mess because of lawyers who probably should still be writing with crayons," he said.
Weingarten contends that Thicke's last wishes are clearly laid out in the living trust.
"All the boys want to do is honor their father's legacy and honor his intentions," he said.
Both sides also accused the other of litigating the matter in the press. The sons' complaint alleges that Callau "threatened to make her claims fodder for 'tabloid publicity'" unless the sons agreed to mediation and "succumb[ed] to her demands."
Streisand refuted that claim.
"Tanya did not threaten to go to the press," he said. "To the contrary, she said a court battle would attract the tabloid media, which she did not want, and so she encouraged everyone to get together for a family mediation to figure it all out. They refused. Repeatedly. So ask yourself, who is it that is planting stories in the press and filing lawsuits, and that's where you'll find the real culprits."
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