Celebrity Estate Lessons: Mickey Rooney

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney

When you hear about a family arguing over an estate, usually you picture blood relations being the instigators. However, in the case of Mickey Rooney, a lot of the battle was with stepsons from his final wife's previous marriage. His Will disinherited his estranged wife as well as his biological children and left his scant $18,000 to his stepson, Mark Rooney who had been acting as his caretaker.

His lawyer, Michael Augustine, was set as his executor. Having suffered from elder abuse and financial mismanagement from his other stepson Christopher in his final years, it's understandable that he would be reticent to have any of his family members in charge of his affairs.

Elder abuse is more common than you might think. Mickey eventually came up with a settlement between himself and his wife, giving her a $3000 a month stipend to stay away from him. He entered into a conservatorship where his son Mark was named as his guardian. He was also awarded almost 3 million dollars that the court found Christopher had taken from his estate over the years.

He went on to appear in front of Congress to discuss his plight and urge them to take a stance against elder abuse.

However, outside of the elder abuse lawsuits, there was also some question about where Rooney would be buried. He owned a plot in Westlake Village, but near the end of his life he stated he'd rather be buried either in Hollywood or in a veteran's cemetery. Augustine stated that there had been plans to purchase a new plot, but funds were lacking. His estranged stepson went to court to demand that he be buried in a plot next to his wife when she ultimately died.

He was ultimately interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It seems somewhat fitting that he will spend eternity in the same place as Judy Garland. His wife and disinherited stepson were allowed to attend the service.