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...
It began with an anonymous court filing pitting “John Doe” against “Jane Doe.” It didn’t take long for Jane and John to be identified publicly as Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara and creator of the Onion Crunch, Nick Loeb. Formerly engaged to be married, the ex-couple now is heading to court battling against each other over what could be a drawn-out debate involving the fundamental question: When does life begin?
Loeb’s attorney vows that he is committed to the battle, which may become “the first test case for Pro-Parenthood.” Vergara seeks to defend her honor and wants nothing more to do with her ex. Her lawyer said Loeb’s claims are “uncredible and hold no merit.”
What’s at stake? Control over two female frozen embryos, held in a Beverly Hills fertility center. When Sofia Vergara and Nick Loeb were engaged, they decided to use in vitro fertilization and a gestational surrogate to have a baby. Their first efforts failed when two prior embryos did not successfully implant in the Read more...
As the movie, American Sniper, enjoys box office success, questions and controversies surround the estate of Chris Kyle. One of his biggest critics is Jesse Ventura, the always-outspoken former professional wrestler and potential presidential candidate. Ventura recently explained in an interview with Howard Stern on SiriusXM that “Chris Kyle is not a hero. A hero must have an honor, and a liar has no honor.” Ventura feels that Kyle had a talent for shooting straight, but was merely doing his job and does not deserve hero status.
Jesse Ventura Wins Lawsuit Vs Chris Kyle – The American Sniper
Jesse Ventura has not been the only one to question the hero label placed on Chris Kyle. Bill Maher, Seth Rogan, Michael Moore and others have also made comments questioning the glorification of Chris Kyle in the movie, while Howard Stern, Sarah Palin, Rupert Murdoch and others have defended his hero status. Ventura, however, has been the most vocal about the topic — perhaps because his view of Chris Kyle is Read more...
Yes, Tom Benson has a great deal more money and power than most of us. How much? Try $1.9 billion, according to the annual Forbes rankings. Indeed, there are only 350 richer people in the whole country. The successful owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, Benson built a wide-ranging empire of car dealerships, banks, various real estate holdings, and a television station. He still actively participates in running his businesses — most of all his beloved Saints.
But for all of his wealth, prestige, and status, Tom Benson is in the midst of the same type of probate-related court battle that entangles many elderly individuals in our country. Some of Benson’s heirs do not believe the 87-year-old is mentally competent to make his own decisions any more. They are seeking to have him declared legally incompetent and protect him from what they claim is undue influence.
This court battle is rapidly turning ugly and is splitting the family in half. The offense is led Read more...
Widely beloved throughout the world of baseball, especially in Chicago, Ernie Banks — a/k/a Mr. Cub — rose from humble beginnings. He began his career earning seven dollars a day in the Negro Leagues, before crossing the color barrier and becoming the Chicago Cubs’ most popular player ever.
After his playing career, Banks has been widely respected as a positive role model in baseball and beyond. He continued to break new ground, becoming the first African-American Ford Motor Company dealer ever and being actively involved in charity work throughout his life after baseball. In 2013, President Obama awarded Banks the National Congressional Medal of Honor.
Family Fight Over Ernie Banks Estate
Ernie Banks died on January 23rd at age 83 from a heart condition. Interestingly, his death certificate listed dementia as a “significant condition contributing” to his death. Why is this important?
Only three months before he died, Ernie Banks signed a new set of estate planning documents, including a new will, trust, power of attorney, and healthcare directive. Read more...
Unquestionably, Marlon Brando was one of the leading actors of the 20th century. The well-known Godfather was always in firm control … until it came to his estate that is.
This is installment #12 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.
Marlon Brando never followed convention. He won his Oscar for Best Actor in 1973 for The Godfather, but Brando rejected the award as a protest to the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. Too bad he failed to follow the norms when it came to estate planning.
In part due to questions about his true intentions as expressed in his will and trust, Marlon Brando’s estate was involved in more than two dozens lawsuits by 2009 — five years after his death. He passed away on July 1, 2004, at 80 years of age, suffering from a Read more...
Elizabeth Taylor is known for many things: her successful acting career, recognition as perhaps the ultimate icon of Hollywood glitz and glamour, standing up as a champion for AIDS research, her popular perfume, and, of course, her string of failed marriages.
Failed nuptials aside, almost everything Liz Taylor touched turned to gold. But what about her estate? Did she prepare her estate with the same high standards as the rest of her life?
This is installment #11 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.
Despite early reports that Taylor’s family may fight over her estate, her estate has been just the opposite: peaceful. No probate filing, no copies of her will or trust published on the web, and no court battles.
In fact, almost four years after her death at the age of 79, very little is publicly known about Elizabeth Read more...
Marilyn Monroe left a legacy that seems to grow brighter each year. Monroe’s image and likeness were so valuable that a multi-million dollar lawsuit over her publicity rights raged on, more than fifty years after she died, until it was finally resolved by a federal court of appeals.
The second wife of Marilyn Monroe’s acting coach was in the center of it. Why did she — whom Monroe barely even knew — have control of the image and legacy of one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars ever?
This is installment #10 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.
Marilyn Monroe, whose real name was Norma Jean Baker, had a difficult childhood. Her mother struggled with mental illness, and Monroe didn’t know for sure who her father was, much less have a relationship with him. She was raised in a series of Read more...
When someone mentions Farrah Fawcett, most people think of her looks. But what about her brains — her financial savvy in particular? The actress and model who rose to fame as one of Charlie’s Angels planned well to protect her troubled son, Redmond, after she passed away. Yet all was not angelic when it came to her financial legacy.
This is installment #9 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.
Farrah Fawcett was far from the stereotypical blonde model when it came to finances. She was hired to do five seasons of Charlie’s Angels, by Aaron Spelling’s production company. After the first season hit it big, Fawcett re-negotiated for more money. Relying on the fact that she never actually signed the contract, she was able to secure an increase in per-episode salary from $5,000 to $100,000.
Fawcett’s savvy definitely came Read more...
When Robin Williams tragically committed suicide six months ago, he left behind three children from his first two marriages (ages 23 to 31) and a widow of less than three years, Susan Schneider Williams. Unlike many celebrities, Robin Williams took the time to create thoughtful and detailed estate plan, including various trusts to benefit both Susan and his three children. The trust established for his wife, called the Susan Trust, referred to and was consistent with a prenuptial agreement the couple signed in 2011 when they were married.
Because Robin Williams’ estate plan was carefully crafted, it initially appeared that his heirs would avoid the bitter family squabbles that affect many mixed-marriage families (in Hollywood and around the country). After all, it is his wishes that matter, and because those wishes were seemingly captured through the proper estate planning documents, there should be nothing left to fight about, right?
Not so fast. Within the past 24 hours, the news broke that the Williams family will not be so lucky. Susan, Read more...