Top 10 Celebrity Stories To Spark Holiday Estate Planning Conversations

Sure the holidays are a fun time for families to sit around talking about what happened on walking deadthe latest episode of The Walking Dead or how granddaughter Mary is doing in dance class.  But they are also a great time to have the important — yet often difficult — conversations about estate planning.  What happens when Mom dies?  Does anyone know where Dad kept his will?  Did they ever transfer the investment accounts into their revocable living trust like they were supposed to?

Many families don’t ask these tough questions … especially when dynamics are strained, like in many second-marriage families or when siblings don’t get along well.  It certainly isn’t easy to blurt out after passing the gravy, “Hey Dad, does your will put me or your wife in charge of your estate?”

But these conversations are important.  When the proper estate planning isn’t done, it’s the family members left behind who pay the price, often with bitter, ugly, and costly probate court battles.  They happen to families all Read more...

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Mick Jagger Can’t Get No Satisfaction; Ugly Lawsuit Settles

It’s rough being Mick Jagger sometimes.  Even as the front man for the famed Rolling Stones, he Can’t Always Get What he Wants.  But when he tries, at least sometimes, he  just might find … that he gets what he needs.  These days, what Sir Mick (as he is known officially in England) truly needs is some peace and quiet … and a little privacy.  Is it too much to ask to Get Off of his Cloud?  Mick Jagger

Sir Mick took a beating in the media last week when a lawsuit that he had hoped to keep quiet became very public.  That is what often happens with lawsuits involving those in the public eye, especially in this digital age. In many courts across the country — federal courts especially, but more and more probate and other states courts too — anyone who knows how to track down the electronic court records and is willing to pay a small cost can read all the juicy details about court battles from the comforts Read more...

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Celebrity Legacies: Kurt Cobain Estate At The Heart Of 20 Years Of Fighting

It has been more than twenty years since Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, died from a shotgun blast to his head, at age 27. His talent, passion, and creativity launched a new movement for not only rock music, but American culture itself.  Kurt Cobain

Cobain was a game-changer who burned too bright — brighter than he could handle.   Kurt Cobain suicide note summarized it well:  “I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”

Cobain’s death may have epitomized the burning out of a flame that grew too hot, but it sparked something else — court fights and ugly battles over his legacy that continued for almost 20 years.

This is installment #7 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

Kurt Cobain Estate – Celebrity Legacies

His widow, Courtney Love, has been Read more...

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Why Did Joan Rivers Die? Melissa Rivers Seeks Answers

Even though she was 81 years old when she died on September 4th, there is no denying that Joan Rivers died too soon. She continued to entertain with an energy level that suggested she was anything but eighty-something. Melissa Rivers has now hired a law firm to find out exactly why Joan died … and who, if anyone, should be held responsible.

Representatives for Melissa Rivers told E! News and others that she retained a New York law firm to “fully determine all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Joan Rivers.” Other reports state that the law firm is sending letters to the medical center that performed the surgery which led to Joan Rivers death, as well as the doctors’ offices involved, demanding they preserve their records and phone logs. This is the first step in the long process of pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Melissa Rivers Retains Powerhouse Attorneys For Death of Joan Rivers

Next, Melissa Read more...

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Celebrity Stories Are A Great Way To Start The Estate Planning Talk

MarketWatch.com recently featured an interesting article about the benefits that families gain by having the estate planning conversation early.  Not only does it improve family relationships, it helps sets the stage and prepares family members for facing the difficult issues caused by a loved one who ages or passes away.

Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!

Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!

The article noted how a UBS Wealth Management study recently found that only 43% of affluent Americans felt that having this conversation with their heirs was a pressing issue.  That’s surprising because experts predict that between now and the year 2050, the largest wealth transfer in U.S. history will occur:  a whopping 30 trillion dollars.

The problem is that having this conversation is seldom easy.  Who wants to sit around talking about legal and financial planning for when someone dies or becomes incapacitated?  Most family members are too busy with the stress of their daily work and personal routines to worry about talking to loved ones about death and dying.

While the MarketWatch article Read more...

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Could The Amanda Bynes Dilemma Happen In Your Family?

The struggles of former child actress, Amanda Bynes, have been well-documented.  She had numerous brushes with the law, including repeated drunk driving and other drug and alcohol-related charges, reported shoplifting attempts, and even more bizarre behavior — such as setting fire to her pants and dousing her dog with gasoline in the driveway of an elderly neighbor.  Amanda Bynes conservatorship

In 2013, her struggles culminated in guardianship/conservatorship proceedings in California, giving her parents the right to make decisions for her as her conservators.  Amanda lived with her parents for the year, and seemed to be doing much better — enrolling in fashion school and avoiding both drugs and legal problems.

After the first year of conservatorship, her parents elected to let the proceedings terminate, restoring Amanda Bynes’s rights to make her own decisions.  They reportedly felt that she had been misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, and her problems instead stemmed from her use of marijuana.  Feeling the drug problems were behind her, Amanda’s parents decided to treat her as an adult and let her live Read more...

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Why Is Casey Kasem Still Not Buried?

The famed American Top 40 Countdown DJ passed away in June, at age 82, with a host of medical problems including advanced Lewy Body dementia.  Now, almost four months later, Casey Kasem’s remains still have not been laid to rest.  Casey Kasem and Jean Kasem

It’s a tragic story of a feuding family.  And unfortunately, it’s one that won’t likely end any time soon.

Kasem’s wife of more than 30 years, Jean Kasem, wasn’t exactly close with his three adult children from his first marriage.  In fact, Casey’s daughter Kerri Kasem recently said in an interview with Howard Stern that Jean Kasem didn’t like her or her siblings since the time that Kerri was just nine years old.   According to Kerri, Jean would even invent bad deeds that she told Casey the children had done so he would be mad at them.

Casey Kasem Still Not Buried

Casey Kasem Related Posts

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Tom Clancy Estate In Family Fight Due To Poor Estate Planning

Anyone who knows who CIA analyst Jack Ryan is likely appreciates the work of late author Tom Clancy.  Called the “father of the techno-thriller,” Clancy’s career took off with his first novel, The Hunt for Red October.  His career — spawning movies such as Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger — led to more than 100 million copies of his Tom Clancy Estatenovels in print, with 17 books hitting the top spot on the New York Times best-seller list.

Tom Clancy passed away on October 1, 2013 from heart failure, at age 66.  He was survived by his widow, Alexandra Clancy, and their young daughter, as well as four adult children from his first marriage.

Author Tom Clancy Dies At 66 (Oct 1st, 2013)

Tom Clancy Estate Value

The Tom Clancy Estate has been valued, based on probate court filings, at $82 million.  It includes a $65 million ownership stake in the Baltimore Orioles, a rare, working World War II tank, a $7 million mansion overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, and more Read more...

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Harry, William Inherit Princess Diana Estate Amid Hard Questions

Prince Harry celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this week. His mother, the iconic Princess Diana, passed away over 17 years ago, following the tragic crash as Diana and Dodi Fayed sped away from paparazzi in France.  What was so special about Harry’s 30th birthday (other than the fact that he’s still single, to the delight of eligible women throughout England)?  That’s the day Harry became entitled to receive the remaining half of Princess Diana’s assets.

Prince HarryAfter Diana passed on August 31, 1997, her mother, Frances Ruth Shand Kydd, and her sister, Lady Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia McCorquodale, became executors of her Estate, based on Diana’s last will and testament dated June 1, 1993 (amended through a codicil in 1996).  The probate filings at the time showed that Diana left behind assets valued at around £21 million (or worth about 31.5 million in USD at the time), netting £17 million after inheritance taxes.  Originally, the will called for these assets to be held in trust for Diana’s sons, Princes William and Harry, Read more...

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Joan Rivers Teaches Lesson About Termination Of Life Support

“I ain’t afraid of death.”  Joan Rivers once told Time Magazine, “I’m in show business.  I died a million times.”  Joan Rivers

Aging.  Dying.  Death.  Concepts no one likes to think about, much less talk about.  Of the many fatal tragedies the celebrity world has suffered lately — Lauren Bacall, Robin Williams, and Casey Kasem, to name a few — perhaps none shook people to the core as much as the passing of Joan Rivers.

Even at 81 years old, her death seemed to take everyone off-guard. Except maybe Joan Rivers herself.  While on stage for the final time, she told the audience how she could die at any minute.  And a few weeks ago, she posted on her Twitter account:

Two Big Brother contestants have had grandparents die this season. I’m a little upset… Cooper [her grandson] just submitted an audition tape.

Joan Rivers Dies At Age 81 – A Look At Her Life

So why was Joan Rivers’ death so shocking?  Maybe it was her zest, vibrancy, and attitude Read more...

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