Gary Coleman’s parents Sue and W.G. “Willie” Coleman aren’t looking for a legal battle, their lawyer says, but they do want a say in the handling of their son’s remains.
“The Colemans don’t want to fight with anyone,” their Utah-based attorney Frederick Jackman said in a statement Thursday. “They just want to bring their son home.”
It remains to be seen who has legal authority over Coleman’s body and his estate following the revelation Wednesday that the actor, 42, and Shannon Price, 24, had in fact divorced in 2008.
“Mr. and Mrs. Coleman are Gary’s surviving family,” their lawyer’s statement continued. “They’re hoping that by applying for [legal action], they can get through this process the right way. The status of the divorce, whether or not anyone has a will, these are all issues that should be brought to the family’s attention immediately.”
Shielia Erickson, a spokesperson for Price, said Price wants to carry out Coleman’s wishes in accordance to his will, but Erickson wouldn’t elaborate on details. Funeral plans have not been finalized. In a video interview released Thursday, Price said she was “struggling [financially] to figure out what to do about funeral costs” and made a plea to his fans for donations.
The actor, who died May 28 at age 42, gradually cut off all communication with his parents shortly after the 1993 settlement of his lawsuit against his business manager, mother and father for allegedly mishandling his finances – a claim his parents have steadfastly denied.
“We never stole from our son,” Sue told PEOPLE. “We always had his best interests at heart.”
Sue, 67, and Willie, 71, who live in Zion, Illinois, say they’ve held out hope for more than 15 years that their son would someday reestablish contact with them.