Muhammad Ali was never one to shy away from battles. From heavyweight champions in the boxing ring, to the United States Government, and to the ravaging effects of Parkinson’s disease, Ali continued to fight. Now there are growing fears that the fight will follow him into the grave, with mounting reports of trouble on the horizon for his estate and his legacy.
The circumstances are ripe for an estate battle. Muhammad Ali fathered nine recognized children (including his adopted son from his most recent marriage) over the course of four different marriages. Estate disputes between the surviving spouse and children from prior marriages are the most common source of trouble in probate courts across our country. Add in the reality of Ali’s long-standing struggles with Parkinson’s disease — which can have not only physical effects, but mental as well — and there is a strong possibility that unhappy heirs may file challenges in court.
Muhammad Ali’s Estate Could Be Worth More After His Passing
And, of course, there is the Read more...
Prince died without a will. So did Tupac Shakur, Bob Marley, and many other legendary musicians. Snoop Dogg doesn’t even want a will.
The question is: Why?
It seems like such a basic concept; everyone needs a will. Otherwise the laws of the state you live in determine who receives your assets and controls your legacy after you die. Without a will, you have no say in what happens, and the chances of a family fight increase dramatically.
Even though a will is relatively simple to create, studies consistently show that between 60% and two-thirds of adult Americans don’t have a will. All states recognize a “holographic” will, which is one in your own hand-writing. They are perfectly valid as long as a couple basic conditions are met. This is not to say they are perfect by any means, but usually better than nothing. And most lawyers can create a basic will for a few hundred dollars or even less.
Even when an estate is modest is size, dying intestate Read more...
Only a very few pop artists enjoyed careers as diverse, colorful, and successful as David Bowie. He remained fascinating and on the cutting-edge, up until the very end, in ways that extended far beyond making music.
Bowie, whose real name was David Robert Jones (and who didn’t want to be confused with Davy Jones), passed away from liver cancer a mere two days after the release of his latest album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday. Knowing that his cancer was terminable, many people believe Bowie intended his last album — featuring lyrics about mortality — to be a farewell. In fact, the tract, Lazurus, begins with the line, “Look up here, I’m in heaven,” and ends with, “Oh, I’ll be free … Just like that bluebird … Oh, I’ll be free … Ain’t that just like me?”
It’s fair to say there was no one else like David Bowie. He was truly one-of-a-kind, from his iconic music, various personas, and his ever-adapting image, to his finances.
David Read more...
Tupac Shakur was well-known for his “Thug” image, his rap prowess, and his many conflicts — leading up to the tragic shooting that took his life at age 25. So should anyone be surprised at the high number of legal battles involving Tupac Shakur’s estate? Or that Shakur could continue to be a pioneer in rap music, even years after his death?
This is installment #17 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.
Tupac Shakur came to fame in large part due to his battles with police, inspiring lyrics in his first solo release so violent that Dan Quayle publicly denounced them — building Shakur’s “Thug” image in the process. In the same time frame, he was arrested five times for violent crimes, leading to numerous criminal charges and civil lawsuits, culminating in a confrontation during which he was shot multiple 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 planning and financial planning. The celebrity stories in Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! can help motivate you to actually do your estate planning this year. Really!
Here are some of our easy-to-use estate planning tips for the new year:
1. Get your financial affairs organized this year. 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 financial plan Read more...
Across the country in December, families will be coming together for the holidays. Sometimes the holidays are one of the few times of year that family members see each other. They eat, share stories, and laugh together. Of course, there may be a few family squabbles, but hopefully no mashed-potato flinging. Or will there be? Overall, the holidays are rare opportunities for family members to have face-to-face conversations. One critical conversation is talking about estate planning — what happens legally when a loved one passes away.
Trial & Heirs Top Tips For The Holidays from Trial And Heirs on Vimeo.
What questions will these tips help you answer?
What will happen once mom and dad pass away?
Have they done their will or trust? Is it updated?
What professionals do they work with?
Where are the documents located?
The celebrity stories in “Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!” can help you translate the estate planning talk into a fun and entertaining discussion. Really! Here Read more...
The news broke earlier this week that the divorce proceeding between Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco and professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting just became a great deal more complicated than originally reported.
Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising. After all, Cuoco recently was named as Forbes’ highest paid TV actress for 2015 (in a tie with Sofia Vergara), with $28.5 million in earnings, including an impressive payday of one million dollars per episode. Comparatively, Sweeting — who boasts only one career tournament win and has been battling injuries — has an estimated net worth of only two million dollars, about $42 million less than Cuoco’s reported net worth.
So why should anyone be surprised that the spouse worth less is asking for financial support from the big bread winner?
Kaley Cuoco Divorcing Ryan Sweeting and More
Kaley Cuoco played a smart game from the start. Even though she and Ryan Sweeting were married after only six months of dating, Cuoco and Sweeting had a prenuptial agreement, signed on November 20, Read more...
As gay, lesbian, and other proponents of same-sex marriages celebrate the United States Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, millions of Americans will now be eligible for dramatically different legal rights upon the death or disability of a life partner than were previously possible.
In fact, in the field of estate planning — including planning for not only what happens when someone dies but also when someone becomes incapacitated — the landscape in the LGBT community has just changed. Gay and lesbian couples now have a level playing field, equal to opposite-sex couples.
Supreme Court Ruling On Gay Marriage Means Financial & Estate Planning Changes
The legal implications are far-ranging, from symbolic, to monetary, to life-changing. In fact, the Supreme Court opinion in Obergefell illustrates this by sharing the stories of three sets of plaintiffs involved in that case.
Gay Marriage Ruling Lead Plaintiff, James Obergefell
The lead plaintiff, James Obergefell, was motivated by nothing more than being legally recognized as the spouse of his partner, John Read more...
As owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, Tom Benson, is used to being in control. He worked his way up from humble beginnings, starting as a used-car salesman, to owner of multiple car dealerships, banks, real estate, and a television station. Of course, Benson is most well-known for owning the NFL’s Saints franchise, which he purchased in 1985. Since then, he has successfully managed the Saints through the lows of Hurricane Katrina to the highs of winning the Superbowl. In 2012, Tom Benson added the NBA’s Hornets (now named the Pelicans) to his stable of businesses. Forbes estimates his net worth to be just shy of $1.9 billion.
For a man with that much success and business acumen, there can be no doubt that one of the things he would enjoy least is someone suggesting he’d lost his wits. Especially when that someone is his hand-picked protégée and granddaughter, along with his daughter and grandson. And even more so when he is brought into court through a Read more...
What would it be like to grow up in a 123-room mansion in a swanky Los Angeles suburb, rubbing elbows with celebrities, and buying anything you want? Sounds pretty great — unless it was all taken away from you as an adult. As Tori Spelling wrote in her autobiography, it’s not easy going from having a silver spoon in your mouth to a plastic one.
This is installment #14 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.
Aaron Spelling was one of the most successful television producers ever, masterminding such hits such as Charlie’s Angles, Beverly Hills 90210, Dynasty, and The Love Boat. When Spelling died after a severe stroke in 2006, at 83 years old, he left behind a fortune worth an estimated $500 million at the time. He owned the largest house in all of Los Angeles Read more...