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...
How many people would jump at the chance to trade places with 15-year-old twins who stand to inherit one billion dollars in six years from the Doris Duke estate? Don’t raise your hands too fast.
Georgia Inman and Walker Patterson Inman III would seemingly have a charmed life, being the only living heirs to the Duke family fortune. That’s right — Duke, as in Doris Duke, Duke University, and Duke Energy Corporation. Yet Georgia and Walker were recently suspended from a private school in Utah for about $25,000 in unpaid tuition and late fees. Perhaps one billion dollars doesn’t buy as much as it used to.
The sad reality is that Georgia and Walker have spent most of their lives caught in the middle of various legal battles. Their mother is Daisha Inman, who now has custody of them. She’s been battling in court against JPMorgan Chase for the last several months over the twins’ trust funds.
The twins’ late father, Walker P. Inman, Jr., was Doris Duke’s nephew. During Read more...
The chairman of the Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee, comes in at number 106 on Forbes’ list of the world’s top billionaires, with a reported net worth of $8.3 billion, as of March. But did he acquire some of that fortune illegally from his late father’s trust? That’s what his brother and sister accuse him of in a recent lawsuit that is growing uglier by the day.
In February, Kun-hee’s older brother, Lee Maeng-hee, filed the suit in Seoul, South Korea. Now joined by two other family members, the lawsuit claims that when their father, Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull, died in 1987, he left millions of shares in Samsung Life Insurance (the world’s 14th largest insurance company) as well as preferred stock in Samsung Electronics and cash, in trust. Specifically, he placed the asset into the name of Samsung executives for the benefit of his family. Lee Kun-hee then wrongfully took the stock and cash and transferred it into his own name, rather than dividing it among the heirs as Read more...
Whitney Houston’s will was recently revealed, after it was filed with the probate court to open her estate, in Atlanta, Georgia. As expected, it named Bobbi Kristina as Whitney’s sole beneficiary. Beyond that, it was surprising for several reasons.
First, the fact that Whitney relied on a will — signed back in 1993 no less — instead of a living trust is troubling. We’re talking about the woman who signed the largest recording contract in history! If anyone should have thorough estate planning, including a living trust, it was Whitney.
Why? Wills have to pass through probate court to be effective, which makes them public record. That’s why information about the contents of her will is all over the internet. Inside Edition, for example, posted a copy of the will, here. In addition to be public, probate can be expensive, time-consuming, and a breeding ground for family fights.
Living trusts, on the other hand, when properly-used, keep matters private and outside of probate court. Most people with even Read more...
Danielle & Andy Mayoras reveal the truth about trusts with Mary Talks Money of ABC’s LiveWell Network:
By Danielle and Andy Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, husband-and-wife legacy expert attorneys, and hosts of an upcoming national PBS special. The charismatic duo has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Forbes, ABC’s Live Well Network, WGN-TV and has lent their expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Kiplinger, and The Washington Post, among many others. As dynamic keynote speakers, Danielle and Andy delight audiences nationwide with highly entertaining and informative presentations, dishing the dirt on celebrity estate battles while dispensing important legal information to help people avoid family fights among their heirs. The couple spends their free time with their 8-year old son and seven-year old boy/girl twins.
For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, subscribe to The Legacy Update at www.TrialandHeirs.com
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Danielle Mayoras was recently interviewed by Kim Vatis of NBC Chicago for her Smart Money finance feature:
If you think tax season is over, think again.
The Tax Relief Act of 2010 has changed the rules for estate taxes. And while Congress is giving families a gift, they need to act now and plan.
“2011 to 2013 is critical,” said estate planning attorney Danielle Mayoras. “Take advantage of the laws while we have them.”
How to Save Money on Moving
As of this year, the federal exemption for estate taxes is $5 million dollars, but that will go down to $1 million in 2013.
In Illinois, the exemption is just $2 million, meaning a lot more middle class families here could be affected.
“It’s not just the money in the bank,” reminded Mayoras.
Death benefits on life insurance, your 401ks and the fair market value on your home are all part of your estate and could add up to $2 million dollars quicker than you think, she explained.
The battle over James Brown’s final wishes began very shortly after the Godfather of Soul passed away on Christmas Day of 2006. And it’s still going strong.
The probate judge approved a settlement among his heirs in 2009, seemingly ending the fight then. One-half of his estate was to pass to charity through a trust, and the other one-half divided between his widow and his children. You can read about the prior settlement here.
But don’t forget about his former manager! What does she have to do with anything? It seems that Jacquelyne Hollander believes she should have been involved in the settlement too. She didn’t like being left out.
Hollander had sued Brown for sexual assault when he was alive (but lost, because she waited too long to sue). Now she’s sued, multiple times, to stop the settlement. Her most-recent lawsuit is still going on in federal court in California.
Why did she sue? What could have been done to prevent all this fighting? What can you learn Read more...
Widely recognized as one of the best and most popular actresses of all times, Elizabeth Taylor’s death this week at the age of 79 caused great sadness throughout Hollywood — and indeed the whole world. Given her success, both on the screen and off, perhaps it should be no surprise that Elizabeth Taylor’s fortune has just been estimated to be worth as much as one billion dollars.
Why so much? Certainly movie royalties alone could not account for that kind of value in her estate. Instead, as ABC News recently reported, her perfume and other business ventures were groundbreaking and highly profitable.
The ABC News article also included portions of an interview with both of us, in which we addressed what one would expect in terms of estate planning for a person of such great wealth and fame. But, as we explained in the interview, there are many examples of wealthy Hollywood celebrities who pass away with very poor estate planning, or no planning at all.
Michael Jackson had Read more...
Mary Talks Money, of ABC’s Live Well Network, sits down with Danielle & Andy as they share the missteps of the rich & famous to help prevent family fights in your family. Here is part one of a two-part series segment. Stay tuned for part two!
Danielle and Andy Mayoras are co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, husband-and-wife legacy expert attorneys, and hosts of an upcoming national PBS special based on Trial & Heirs. The charismatic duo has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Forbes, ABC’s Live Well Network, WGN-TV and has lent their expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Kiplinger’s, and The Washington Post, among many others. As dynamic keynote speakers, Danielle and Andy delight audiences nationwide with highly entertaining and informative presentations, dishing the dirt on celebrity estate battles while dispensing important legal information to help people avoid family fights among their heirs. The couple spends their free time with their 8-year old son Read more...
The Friends of the Barnes Foundation group is mounting a last-ditch effort to try to reverse the fate of one of the most valuable private art collections ever assembled.
The late Dr. Albert Barnes gathered together unmatched works of post-impressionist art, including paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso, Monet and other masters. It has not only been widely recognized as the greatest collection of its kind, but it’s been valued at more than 25 billion dollars.
Dr. Barnes created a very detailed Trust to maintain the collection in a private facility apart from the commercial art “elite,” which he despised. Given the extraordinary value of the collection — both monetarily and artistically — perhaps it should be no surprise that the art elite of Philadelphia have done everything they can to get their hands on the collection.
In fact, Dr. Barnes’ Trust has been the subject of many years of litigation, which has steadily chipped away at Dr. Barnes’ detailed instructions for how his art gallery was to be managed. Read more...