Johnny Hallyday: Judge freezes assets in inheritance dispute

Cast member Johnny Hallyday and his wife Laeticia kiss during red carpet arrivals for the screening of the film "Vengeance" Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rock star Johnny Hallyday was married to fourth wife Laeticia for 21 years

A French court has frozen real estate assets and royalties of French legend Johnny Hallyday while it deliberates on the rock star's will.

The singer died of cancer in December and left everything to his fourth wife Laeticia and their adopted daughters.

His older children are contesting this as French law forbids children from being excluded from inheritance.

French media speculate that the rock star left up to €100m (£86m).

A posthumous album, expected to be a big seller, is due out in 2018.

The court in Nanterre ruled against the the rock star's two children from a previous marriage and relationship - singer David Hallyday, 51, and actress Laura Smet, 34 - having a say on the album.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Laeticia (2nd left) and her two daughters are pictured at the rock star's funeral with Laura Smet and her half-brother David Hallyday

Hallyday, who was hugely popular in his native France, sold more than 100 million records in a nearly 60-year career.

In 2014 he filed a will in California, where he had a home and was domiciled for tax purposes.

While details of the rock star's will have not been made public, the older children's lawyers say everything - including a Swiss chalet and property in the Caribbean - was left to Laeticia, his fourth wife, and their daughters Jade and Joy.

His older children say the will contravenes French inheritance laws that bar this from happening.

A judge will now have to weigh up whether Hallyday, 74 when he died of lung cancer in France, was a US or French resident, thereby deciding if his will breaks French law.

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