5 Celebrity Estate Planning Disasters and What You Can Learn

5 Celebrity Estate Planning Disasters and What You Can Learn

They say that every mistake that a person makes in life presents an opportunity for that person to learn and to grow so that the mistake is not repeated. This goes only for the living. When the mistake involves matters of estate planning and probate, there are no do-overs. The result of poor planning or lack of planning can be disastrous to the living. As a real estate professional, you should be familiar with how estate planning can go wrong. Here are 5 celebrity estate planning disasters and the lessons that the living can learn from them.

  • Howard Hughes: The fight for the Hughes estate went on for years. At the time of his death the billionaire businessman and aviator had an estimated worth of 2.5 billion dollars which would be more than 11 billion dollars in today’s money. Eventually, a fake will did turn up. That will has come to be known as the “The Mormon Will.” It led to lengthy court battles involving the states of Nevada, California, and Texas. Finally, a large part of the disputed money from his estate went to the Howard Hughes Medical Institution with some of it going towards relatives and attorneys. It was not settled until 2010. The lesson to be learned here is that when a will is not made, the result can be litigation that lasts for years.
  • James Marshall Hendrix (Jimi Hendrix): The virtuoso rock guitarist and member of the infamous 27 club – a group of famous musicians who all died at the age of 27 – left no will as his death was unexpected. He did leave behind a long list of relatives who predictably squabbled over his estate for years after his death.
  • Tom Clancy: Eight million dollars is on the line since the late novelist was unclear as to who should pay the taxes on his $82 million estate. Should Clancy’s trust pay his estimated $16 million IRS bill or should his children? The lesson here is that when wills are left they should be clear and unambiguous.
  • documentsPaul Walker: This star of the Fast and Furious movies died unexpectedly at age 40. And even though he did have the forethought to leave a will before he died, he did not update it as one should after major life events such as the birth of a child, marriage, etc. His father has had to open his estate worth $25 million in assets in probate court.
  • Casey Kasem: The legendary voice actor and host of American’s Top 40 radio program, died in 2014 after family members battled for years over his medical care. As proof of how ugly things can get between survivors, his relatives accused Jean Kasem – his wife – of actually murdering him. If this were proven to be true Jean Kasem would be stricken of her inheritance under California’s slayer statute.

Quite frankly, very few of your clients’ relatives will die with billions of dollars in their bank balance. However, that does not mean that the above cases cannot be instructive. As someone who specializes in probate property you should know all aspects of the field and what happens in worst case scenarios. We can give you that information you need and supply you with vetted, real estate seller leads as well to help your business prosper in the New Year. Here’s hoping that 2020 is awesome for your business.

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