The Tragedy of Francesca Hilton, Daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor

Everyone loves a good rags-to-riches tale.  But Francesca Gabor Hilton’s life followed a dramatically different path.  Born to Hollywood star Zsa Zsa Gabor, and founder of the famed Hilton hotel dynasty, Conrad Hilton, Francesca was raised living in mansions, attending celebrity parties, earning blue ribbons in horse-riding competitions, and jet-setting to Rome and Paris, among other fashionable cities.  But her life was not as idyllic as it seemed.  Zsa Zsa Gabor and Francesca Hilton

Zsa Zsa Gabor wrote in her autobiography that Francesca was born following a pregnancy that resulted from rape by Conrad Hilton, her husband at the time.  The couple divorced before Francesca was born.  Francesca told the Los Angeles Times in 2007 that she spent Christmases and occasional upscale lunches with her father.  But their relationship was never close. When Conrad died in 1979, he left his only daughter $100,000 out of his estate, with most of the wealth earmarked for charity.  That doesn’t sound too bad, except that Conrad Hilton’s estate was worth about $200 million at the time, including massive Hilton Read more...

| 2 Comments

Joan Rivers Protected Her Family With Good Estate Planning

Joan Rivers was widely respected for her sense of humor, work ethic, and willingness to say almost anything for a laugh.  When it came to planning her estate, Rivers treated it as no laughing matter.  joan rivers estate planning

Joan Rivers’ last will and testament was signed on November 16, 2011.  A thorough and well-drafted legal document, her will named a living trust as her beneficiary.

Specifically, Joan Rivers, whose full legal name was Joan R. Rosenberg, signed the Rosenberg Family Trust on the same day as the will.  The will directed that all of her estate assets were to be distributed to that trust.

Melissa Rivers to Inherit Over $100 million of Joan Rivers Estate

Interestingly, the final version of Joan’s trust was far from her first.  In fact, the will stated that her trust was actually the 11th amendment of the original trust, and the third complete restatement.  This means that the original Rosenberg Family Trust was changed, many times over, and rewritten completely three times (not counting the original version).  When Read more...

| Leave a comment

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...

| Leave a comment

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...

| Leave a comment

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...

| Leave a comment

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...

| Leave a comment

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...

| Leave a comment

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...

| Leave a comment

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

Read more...
| Leave a comment

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...

| Leave a comment