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125: Cher Files for Conservatorship of Son Elijah Blue Allman Over Alleged Substance Abuse

Recently, the entertainment world has been abuzz with numerous high-profile conservatorship battles, and the latest to emerge involves iconic singer Cher. She has initiated a conservatorship petition concerning her son, Elijah Blue Allman, aiming to oversee the financial benefits he inherits from his father, the late Greg Allman’s trust. Legal filings state the urgent need for a conservator to safeguard Elijah’s estate against potential damages or losses, citing his inability to manage his finances due to significant mental health and substance abuse challenges. Tune into a new episode of Absolute Trust Talk for an in-depth analysis of this situation and to explore possible measures Greg Allman might have taken to avert such a conservatorship scenario.

Time-stamped Show Notes:

0:00 Introduction

1:09 Madison Gunn fills us in on the conservatorship case for Cher’s son, Elijah Blue Allman. In short, Cher is concerned Elijah will use his father’s trust money to feed his drug addiction.

2:24 Next, we look at how this conservatorship case differs from the others we’ve recently covered in that the others were to make sure someone with dementia could get the care they need.

3:14 Another major difference in this case is that Elijah Allman does not agree with the conservatorship and will contest it in court.

4:23 Estate Planning Lesson: Greg Allman likely knew of his son’s drug problem and could have put provisions in his trust for this possibility.

6:52 As we wrap up, we want to drive home this message: You can always plan ahead if you’re concerned about your child(ren)’s management of their portion of the trust.


Madison, what is your favorite Cher song? “If I Can Turn Back Time.” Oh, that is a good one. That is a good one. I might have chosen that one, too, except I have Cher’s new Christmas album. And so now I have to say my current favorite Cher song is “DJ Play a Christmas Song.” I have to say, I heard that at your house at our Christmas party, and I was like, “What is this?” and I didn’t know Cher had a Christmas song. She does, finally. After all these years, she finally put out a Christmas album. Okay.

Hello, everyone. This is Absolute Trust Talk. I’m Kirsten Howe here with Madison Gunn and you might have guessed from that opening that we’re going to be talking a little bit about Cher today. And the reason is, we’ve had a sort of a slew of celebrity conservatorship cases that have been in the news and Cher is involved in one of them. And since we’ve talked about two others, we felt that we need to talk about this one. Madison, get us started with the basics of this case.

Yeah, so the last two we talked about were conservatorships for dementia. This particular conservatorship is Cher filing for a temporary and permanent conservatorship over her son, Elijah Blue Allman, which is her son with Greg Allman, I believe her first husband. Or second husband, maybe. Second husband, sorry. Yeah, sorry. After Sonny. And she is doing that because she is concerned about his addictions and that he can’t manage his finances and/or is going to be a danger to himself because there is a distribution that’s going to be made from his father’s trust to him and that she’s worried he’s going to, you know, buy drugs with that money and kill himself essentially. So she’s worried about that. So she’s filing for a conservatorship so she could take control over that money, which is not a significant sum of money in the grand scheme of Cher. You’re right. It’s like $120,000 a year, which is not nothing, but it would buy a lot of drugs and Cher wants to protect her son.

So it is a little bit different from the other two conservatorships that we’ve talked about. Those were based on dementia and those were conservatorships for the purpose of doing estate planning for the person with dementia. The proposed conservator wanted the conservatorship in the case of Brian Wilson so that they could do a new healthcare directive. And in the case of Mavis Leno, so that her husband, Jay, could do a full estate plan, a trust, a will for her. This is different. This is a conservatorship where we’re trying to take control of the money in order to protect the person from themselves.

Okay. Yeah. And it’s also different in the sense that he is not agreeable. Uh, Elijah Blue is contesting the conservatorship and says that he does not need one that he has capacity, he is not a danger to himself, he says he has money and he can go buy his own drugs and doesn’t need the distribution from his father’s trust to buy drugs. So that’s not a concern. There’s all a lot of other family drama involved and he is married and all of that, so there’s other kinds of drama involved. So who knows what’s going on really, but that’s what is in the filings.

Okay. Yeah. And so that is different as well in that the proposed conservatee is actually actively opposed to the petition, whereas Mavis Leno and Brian Wilson are not doing that. So their petitions are more likely to be granted relatively quickly. This one, if there’s opposition, that’s got to be resolved somehow. And that takes time and attorneys fees. And so, you know, we’ll keep you posted. But we aren’t talking about this just for funsies. It’s here that we’re talking about it because there is an estate planning lesson to be gotten out of it. That’s why you’re here watching us. That’s why we’re doing this is we want you to learn and benefit. Madison, what would you say is the lesson here?

Yeah. So the big lesson is this is all stemming from a distribution from Greg Allman’s trust. So he had a trust, which is great because he had seven wives and five kids. So, I mean, it’s a good thing that he had a trust and he passed away in 2017. So we’re pretty sure he is aware that his son either had a drug problem, or was predisposed or could have, or there was a possibility his son had an addiction problem. And his trust could have had provisions in it for this possibility, and it did not. So, you know, the lesson is that if that is a consideration for anybody’s children, you can make the trust say that. You can have those provisions in there in case there is an addiction problem or that money needs to be held in trust. Or, if you know that money needs to be held in trust for somebody, you can set that up in advance.

Right. And in his defense – Greg Allman’s defense – we are talking about $120,000 a year. It might be that it says $10,000 a month. We don’t really know, but that’s one way of kind of managing the money from the grave. But as it turns out in this case, it doesn’t seem like it’s the most – it’s not effective enough. You can do more. You can control the inheritance much more tightly if necessary. And it’s a lot easier for the trustee to have discretion to be looser with the money than it is to give the trustee discretion to be tighter. Like there’s a lot more litigation involved if all of a sudden the trustee’s like arbitrarily like, “You know what, nope, I’m going to hold on to your money this year because you have a problem.” It’s a little bit easier if they’re, if they’re allowed in the document just to hold onto it, but then they’re like, “Oh, I’m going to be nice and give it to you.” If it’s the other way around, it’s a little bit easier to less litigious.

Right. All right. So that’s your estate planning lesson of the day. Just plan ahead. If you need to protect your children, you can do it in your own planning. And thank you all for joining us. Madison, thank you. It’s been a pleasure, as always. And we look forward to connecting with you next time.

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