Tag Archives: Michael Crichton

Learn From Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes

As two lawyers who have written about celebrity estates for years and hosted the national television special Trial and Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune! on PBS affiliates, we’ve noticed that stars often make the same big estate planning mistakes as people with very modest assets. It’s just the dollar amounts that differ.

Learn from their goofs and avoid repeating them yourself. That way, you’ll protect your loved ones and be sure your inheritance wishes are carried out.

These are the top four estate planning mistakes made by celebs — errors you’ll want to avoid:

1. No will. Most of us naturally want to be sure our assets are distributed properly after we pass away, so it’s surprising that almost two-thirds of adults don’t even have simple wills. Whether you have millions of dollars or just a modest estate, estate planning is critical — starting with a will.

Unfortunately for the family of Amy Winehouse, the singer didn’t have a will when she unexpectedly passed away at age 27, leaving Read more...

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Etta James Estate: Others Remind of Need for Estate Planning in 2012

A few weeks into the new year, how many of your New Year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside?  Exercise more. Eat less.  Spend more quality time with family.

Well it’s not too late to tackle a very important resolution that up to two-thirds of adults in our country ignore — estate planning. That’s right, it’s the topic no one likes to think about, but everyone knows they should take care of … wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and more.

It doesn’t have to be intimidating! In fact, celebrity stories are a great way to break the ice to remind everyone of what they need to do.

So, with the help of some recent stories in the news, here are Trial & Heirs: New Years Estate Planning Resolutions for 2012.  (We just gave an interview discussing some of these stories, which you can watch here).

The Estate Of Etta James

1.  Plan Now and Don’t Procrastinate.

R&B legend Etta James was 72 when she passed away last week, Read more...

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Danielle & Andy Share Their Trial & Heirs New Years Resolution Tips for 2012 with FOX 2

Danielle and Andy Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, share their Trial & Heirs Estate Planning Resolutions for 2012 with FOX 2 News.

Trial & Heirs: Estate Planning Resolutions for 2012: MyFoxDETROIT.com

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Family fight over control of Michael Crichton’s trust

Celebrity estate battles just keep coming.  Here’s the UPI article about the latest in a long line of court cases involving dueling heirs of the rich and famous.  Best selling author Michael Crichton (writer of ER and Jurassic Park) left behind a messy estate and trust because he failed to update his estate planning documents to provide for his son, not yet born when he died of cancer at age 66.  I wrote about the problems this caused in a prior article.

Then his estate had to contend with the claim of his wife, Sherri Alexander, who filed paperworking seeking seven million dollars from his estate under a prenuptial agreement she signed with her famous husband in April 2005, before their marriage.

But the real fight just began.  A few days ago, Crichton’s daughter, Taylor Crichton, filed a petition in the Los Angeles Probate Court to remove Sherri as one of the three trustees of Crichton’s trust, claiming she’s breached her fiduciary duties.

Sherri’s attorneys issued a

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