Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee… My oh my, what a family legacy!

The passing of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali has sent the world’s media into a frenzy of fight footage flashbacks and fond memories ahead of his funeral this week.

Ali had planned his funeral with his family for the last ten years. Film stars and world champions will be his pallbearers at the multi-denominational funeral service in Louisville, Kentucky. His mile-long funeral profession will drive along a road named after him. His funeral is all about preparation and planning.*


Sadly, the same cannot be said of Ali’s estate and finances, which are a complex and tangled web involving seven daughters, two sons, four wives, and three divorces.** What’s more, Ali’s estate could be worth millions in posthumous earnings, raising the stakes even higher.


Where there’s a will

Whilst the exact contents of Ali’s will is as yet unknown, there are many parties who could benefit - and several who might wish to contest the contents. The executor to Ali’s will is said to be his fourth wife, Lonnie Ali. However, there are reported incidents of friction between her and other members of the extended Ali family, including children from previous relationships.


What a tangled web we weave

At LGFL, we have extensive experience in helping families untangle messy family situations. Many families have resolved such issues thanks to our professional advice on all types of financial settlements. So if you find yourself in an Ali-type tangle and have children from different marriages, want to know about step parent rights, or believe your spouse is committing adultery, speak to us.


We have also advised families about their rights to contest a will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. If you wish to contest the provisions of a will (as we suspect some members of the Ali family will do), you need to move quickly to ensure your claim is valid. Call us to see if you qualify for a free consultation (full details at the end of this blog).


Love and marriage

Ali’s first marriage was to a cocktail waitress, Sonji Roi, who he married after a whirlwind romance of just one month. The couple divorced just 17 months later.
Eighteen months later, in August 1967, Ali married 17-year old Belinda Boyd, who changed her name to Khalilah Camacho Ali after converting to Islam. Their marriage lasted ten years, and the couple had four children: Maryum, twins Jamillah and Rasheda, and Muhammad Ali, Jr.
Ali’s third marriage was to Veronica Porsche. The couple already had baby Hana by the time they married in 1975, and then had a second daughter, Laila Ali. The couple divorced in 1986.
Very quickly after that divorce, Ali married Yolanda ("Lonnie") Williams, a childhood friend from his home town. The couple adopted a son, Asaad Amin. They remained married until Ali’s death.
There are also two children, Miya and Khaliah, from extramarital relationships plus a possible third daughter, Kiiursti Mensah Ali who claims to be one of Ali’s children.


Estate value and business interests

Ali certainly earned big money from his famous fights, such as the $5million purse for the “Rumble in the Jungle: with George Foreman in 1974. After retirement, he negotiated licensing and endorsement details through his company Goat LLC. A controlling share in the company was sold to CKX, at which time the Ali brand was reputed to be worth $7million annually.***

After changing hands a couple of times, Ali’s image rights are currently owned by Authentic Brands Group (ABG), with the family holding a 20% stake.  With even this modest stake capable of producing a considerable stream of income for years to come, how the income is distributed amongst the Ali family could become a major issue of contention.
The biggest issue might be that rifts already exist in the Ali family. Ali’s son Ali Jr was estranged from his father, and Ali’s brother Rahman reportedly lives in poverty. As experienced family lawyers, we know and understand the complexity of family relationships, and can advise you on the best legal ways to resolve any deeply-entrenched issues that may exist.


An $80million estate? Peanuts!

At an estimated $80million, Ali’s estate is considerable. However, is it also considerably less than the $300million estate left by the late singer Prince. The difference is that since Prince left no known will or trust, was not married, and had no (known) children, the estate will be divided between his sister and five half-siblings, but only after the US government has taken at least 50%.
And even $300million pales into pocket money compared to the billions others have inherited. Chilean Iris Fontbona inherited $13.5 billion from her late husband in 2005. Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of the late Apple genius Steve Jobs, inherited $19.5 billion. The three children of Mars confectionary company owner Forrest Mars Sr are each worth $26.6 billion. And the three grandchildren children of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton are worth a staggering $41.7 billion each.****


LGFL advice? Priceless!

At LGFL, we offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation for local clients to discuss your concerns, at our discreet family law offices on the Hampshire/Berkshire border. So, you don’t have to be a billionaire (or even pay a single penny) to receive a professional overview of your situation. Knockout!






Blog References

* The Daily Mail

** Wikipedia

*** The Guardian

**** TheRichest.com citing Forbes