Casey Kasem — the legendary voice of American Top 40 Countdown and numerous cartoon characters — has been kidnapped by his own wife while he suffers from advanced dementia, according to Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem. Casey’s wife, Jean Kasem, is accused of secreting away the 82-year old former DJ, in a move that could jeopardize his health, safety, and well-being. Kerri told a California judge and various media outlets that her step-mother had fled the state with her husband of 30 years, in an attempt to avoid a Judge’s ruling about who would be Casey’s new conservator.
The ruling was made on Monday, after a long family feud over the care and control of Casey Kasem. During the Monday court hearing, Kerri and her attorney obtained a temporary conservatorship over her father so that she can begin making decisions for him, such as where he lives, who he sees, and managing his medical care. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to actually make any of these decisions — or even see Read more...
A mere five days after the Hollywood acting legend passed away in his sleep at the age of 93, the family of Mickey Rooney was set to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom to fight over where he should be buried. Just hours before the court hearing, the estate reached a settlement — hopefully putting an end to the troubling feud that surrounded Rooney’s family the last few years.
On one hand, Rooney’s family fight should not be viewed as surprising. What else would be expected when a Hollywood icon dies with a new will disinheriting all nine of his children (from eight different marriages), his wife, and all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren? But a closer look shows how this family feud was far from the typical inheritance squabble we often see when famous people die.
Mickey Rooney’s estate is reported to be worth a mere $18,000 at this point. While his successful acting career spanned more than 80 years, most of Rooney’s starring roles occurred during the movie Read more...
Whitney Houston’s family has been through its share of disagreements since the pop diva passed away on February 11, 2012. Early on, there was trouble at the funeral, sparking concerns of a feud with Bobby Brown. Recently, however, the trouble has centered around Nick Gordon. Gordon was raised and treated like a son by Whitney Houston, from the time he was 12 years old.
Rather than looking at Whitney Houston’s Daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, as a sister, Gordon (now age 24) and Bobbi Kristina (who just turned 21) have recently gotten married. The tabloids are having fun with that relationship! Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, reportedly called the relationship “incestuous” when they were dating. Now that they are actually married, TMZ says Cissy was furious, but she hasn’t spoken publicly about it since then.
Other family members are not keeping quiet. In fact, the co-executor of Whitney Houston’s estate, sister-in-law Pat Houston, obtained a restraining order against Gordon recently. The restraining order was obtained because Pat says Gordon has made
The 2014 Oscars are complete. Trial & Heirs looks back at past Oscar winners like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Taylor, Heath Ledger, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando. Their estates illustrate important estate planning lessons that everyone can benefit from — even those who aren’t walking the red carpet at the Oscars.
1. Philip Seymour Hoffman Estate Planning Lesson: You Can Be Creative With Your Will or Trust
There were many mistakes and pitfalls with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s estate (including no estate tax planning and his failure to use a revocable living trust, as we discuss in our article). But, Hoffman — whose portrayal of Capote earned him the Best Actor Oscar in 2006 — didn’t do everything wrong.
He gets credit for a key component of estate planning that many people overlook: creativity. Estate planning is not meant to be “fill in the blank” or “one-size fits all.” You can use your will or trust to pass along your goals, values and moral beliefs. Most people think wills and trusts Read more...
Oscar-winning actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, died on February 2nd from a drug overdose. Recently, his long-time girlfriend and mother of his three children, Marianne O’Donnell, filed to open Philip Seymour Hoffman’s estate and to probate his will. While there are many lessons that can be drawn from his will, there are four main estate planning pitfalls that serve as important lessons:
1. Philip Seymour Hoffman Should Have Created A Revocable Living Trust.
The reason that Hoffman’s will is public and available for anyone to read (you can click here to read it for yourself), is because he relied on a will — and only a will — for his estate plan. For most people with even a modest estate, revocable living trusts are critical.
Why? When properly used, they help families avoid the costs, aggravation, and delays caused by the probate process. Probate court proceedings are public record (meaning anyone can read the will — even your nosy neighbor!), and are expensive, difficult to maneuver without an attorney, and Read more...
Paul William Walker IV was the star of the Fast & Furious movies, until his unfortunate — and ironic — death in a high-speed car accident on November 30, 2013. The car, in which Walker was a passenger, was found to have been doing at least 100 mph. Walker was 40 years old when he died, survived by his parents and his 15-year old daughter, Meadow Rain Walker.
Recently, Paul Walker’s father filed to open the estate, including Walker’s Last Will and Testament, which you can read here: Read Paul Walker’s Will. It sheds some interesting information about the Paul Walker Estate and highlights some valuable estate planning lessons.
First, the probate filing and will reveal that Walker had assets of about 25 million dollars, including 8 million in personal property (which would include cash and investments), $8.5 in expected income, and another $8.5 million in real estate (after subtracting mortgages).
Second, the filing shows that Walker had a revocable living trust, benefiting his daughter as the sole Read more...
To most parents, the question of whether the government should intervene to dictate how a child should be raised is an easy one. Parents, not the court system, should decide what is best for their children — in the absence, of course, of abuse or neglect. But does that change when a child’s life is on the line?
That is the difficult question facing a court of appeals in Ohio regarding Sarah Hershberger. What are the constitutional rights of parents to make life-or-death medical decisions for their child? What if the decision the parents make flies in the face of conventional medicine and, according to traditional doctors, means the child will die in less than a year?
Sarah Hershberger Guardianship Case
Sarah Hershberger is the eleven-year-old daughter of Andy and Anna Hershberger, who are Amish. The family lives in an Amish community near a small town outside of Cleveland. At least, they did until recently. Because the Ohio court system appointed a guardian over Sarah — for the sole purpose Read more...
Farrah Fawcett’s estate planning wishes have been at the center of a number of lawsuits, as we describe in this article about Ryan O’Neal. O’Neal was sued by the University of Texas, which claimed that he wrongfully removed the famed Andy Warhol Farrah Fawcett painting from her home after she died. O’Neal defended himself, saying that this copy of the painting was his and he had permission to take it back after Fawcett died.
The University of Texas disagreed, suing O’Neal back in 2011. The University’s lawyers felt that, because Fawcett’s revocable living trust left all of her artwork to the University, it should be the rightful owner of the Farrah Fawcett paining, not O’Neal. It turns out there were actually two copies of the famed portrait, and the University already received one of them. But it sued O’Neal for the other one too.
The case proceeded to trial last month, lasting three weeks. O’Neal called several witnesses, including former friends of Fawcett and her former caregiver, who Read more...
It’s the beginning of the year, which means that we all have well-intended New Year’s resolutions. The diet, the exercise regimen, saving money…and finally doing our estate and financial planning. The celebrity stories in Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! can help motivate you to actually do your planning in 2014. Really!
Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!
Here are some of our easy-to-use tips for the new year:
1. Get your financial affairs organized in 2014. Create an “asset” list, including the account numbers, names of financial institutions, and related information for your insurance, stocks, bonds, CDs, securities, bank accounts and other investments.
2. Store your asset list and your estate planning documents in a fireproof box, safe, or safety deposit box. Remember to make sure that your loved ones can find and access these documents! We have an Estate Planning Organizer to help you with this. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more.
3. Review and update your estate planning documents and your Read more...
Access Hollywood featured a segment about the Britney Spears Conservatorship. The show examined how the successful entertainer can headline a new multi-million dollar Las Vegas show and mentor young singers as an X Factor Judge, yet not be deemed competent enough to manage her basic life decisions like food, clothing and shelter.
Danielle and Andy Mayoras of Trial & Heirs served as experts for the segment. After watching the segment, what do you think? Does Britney Spears still need the protection of a conservator — almost six years after the legal proceeding started — or is this all about the money? Watch Access Hollywood’s segment on the Britney Spears Conservatorship:
Access Hollywood. Dec. 19. 2013 – Short clip from Trial And Heirs on Vimeo.
By Danielle and Andrew Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, click here to subscribe to The Trial & Heirs Update. You can Read more...