Category Archives: Trial & Heirs: The Book

TOMI Entertainment Magazine’s Spread on Trial & Heirs

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Estate and Wishes of James Brown Tied Up In Court Fights

The Godfather of Soul passed away on Christmas Day, 2006, and generously left his $100 million fortune to a special trust set up to help poor and needy children.  Yet, four-and-a-half years later, not one child has seen a cent.  Why?  

The court battle over his final wishes has dragged on … and on … and on, as court fights often do.  While most estate fights are devastating for family members, both emotionally and financially, this one has affected many more — those that needed help the most.  How did this happen?

James Brown passed away with at least nine children, three ex-wives, and a woman who may or may not have been his widow.  This woman, Tomi Rae Hynie, was technically still married to another man when she tied the knot with James Brown (although that marriage was later annulled, reportedly).  Hynie also had a child named James Brown, II, which may or may not have been fathered by Brown.  To complicate the estate, Brown never updated his will Read more...

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Danielle and Andy Mayoras Tape National TV Special

Wow!  What an amazing weekend we had!  After months and months of preparation, this weekend we taped our television show, Trial & Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune! Our show will premiere in Michigan on August 9th at 8 p.m. EST and air nationally in December. PBS will also stream the broadcast online through UStream.tv so that everyone would have an opportunity to view the premiere in August.

The taping included our show with a live studio audience (they were wonderful!), DVD extras from the two of us, and an interview with Ray Charles, Jr.
Ray shared some touching stories about his famous father as well as the private pain that his father’s estate has caused his family.  Ray’s full interview, including some never-before-told stories, will be available as one of the DVD extras.

We share some behind-the-scenes pictures from our production on our Trial & Heirs Facebook page.  If you’re not already a member of our Facebook page, make sure to “like” it so that you receive the latest Read more...

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The Truth About Trusts: Mary Talks Money With Danielle & Andy

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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What Do Estate Tax Laws Mean To Your Family?

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 death

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Mary Talks Money with Danielle & Andy

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...

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Trial & Heirs’ Top Tips for 2011 via Forbes

Now into the second month of 2011, it’s not too late to make a fresh start with the important topic of estate planning, which so many people find ways to keep putting off. We think it’s helpful to see what happened last year with some celebrity estates to help add motivation for proper legal planning in 2011. Forbes_home_logo

What happened in 2010? Dennis Hopper and Gary Coleman both passed away, sparking ugly court fights. The estates of Michael Jackson and Steve McNair dragged on with no end in sight, and Anna Nicole Smith’s efforts to claim a share of her 90-year old deceased husband’s billion dollar estate continued into its fifteenth year in court! In addition, the estates of Farah Fawcett, Gary Coleman, Brittany Murphy, and George Steinbrenner provided valuable lessons on how to (and how not to) protect families through estate planning.

Here’s how to make the most of changes in the law this year.

Familiarize Yourself with 2011 Estate Tax Laws. George Steinbrenner timed his death well by passing Read more...

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Forbes Video on the 2011 Estate Tax Law Changes

Most of us know that we have new estate tax laws in 2011, but do you know the “ins” and “outs”?  How does a married couple qualify for the ten-million dollar exemption?  What pitfalls remain?  When does the exemption expire?  Forbes_home_logo

There may be more involved in the new laws than you realize! Watch Danielle Mayoras’ video interview with Forbes to make sure that you protect yourself, your family and clients under the new laws.

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Forbes Video on Protecting Against Financial Exploitation

2011 marks the first year that baby boomers turn 65.  This means there will be a dramatic increase in the number of seniors in the years to come, making it extra important to raise awareness and help families protect against financial exploitation.  Forbes_home_logo
Andrew Mayoras recently discussed this topic, featuring some prevention tips on Forbes.com.  Of course, discussions of a few celebrity cases are included, such as Wesley Snipes, Anna Nicole Smith, and Farrah Fawcett.

Here’s the video:



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10 Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes

The Business Insider recently published an article featuring Trial & Heirs‘ Top 10 Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes.  Here they are: Michael-jackson-thriller

1. Jimi Hendrix’s Critical Error:  Doing Nothing

If you do not plan your own estate while alive, you could end up like Jimi Hendrix and have someone that you barely knew controlling your legacy.  Hendrix’s legacy was fought over in court more than 30 years after he died.

2. Justice Warren Burger’s Critical Error:  Doing It Yourself

Former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger created his own will with 176 words but he left out key provisions and his family paid the price.

3. Heath Ledger’s Critical Error:  Not Updating

Heath Ledger never updated his will with the birth of his daughter, leading to chaos and family members fighting through the press.

4. Princess Diana’s Critical Error: Taking Shortcuts

Princess Diana used a “letter of wishes” leaving personal items to her godchildren instead of specifying her wishes in a will or trust.

5. Florence Griffith-Joyner’s (Flo Jo) Critical Error:  Forgetting Read more...

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