Learning from Famous Estate Planning Mistakes

10:54 pm Estate Planning

Oops 150x122 Learning from Famous Estate Planning Mistakes The mistakes many celebrities have made in their estate plans (or lack thereof) have caused plenty of pain and suffering for their families and their estates.  Here is the list of those celebrity mistakes and what we can learn from them:

Sonny Bono – Bono died unexpectedly of a skiing accident and had no will when he died, as well as a child he fathered out of wedlock who stepped forward to claim a part of the estate.  Creating a will is important at any age since none of us knows when we will die.

Jimi Hendrix – Hendrix intended for his estate to go to his brother, but he never made a will.  When he died at 26, his estate was divided between his father and adopted daughter according to state intestacy laws.

Leona Helmsley – the well-known New York hotelier left the majority of her $12 million estate to her dog.  Her grandchildren contested the validity of the will, claiming mental incompetence.  If you intend to leave an unusual bequest, you should consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure your wishes cannot be challenged due to mental incompetence.

Stieg Larsson – Larsson never got to see the riches his Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and subsequent novels brought, and neither did his girlfriend of 32 years since he never made a will naming her as a beneficiary.  His entire estate was divided between his father and brother.

Princess Diana – While she did indicate that she wished to leave £100,000 each to her sons and her godchildren upon her death, she did not execute the formal estate planning documents to do so.  When she died tragically at the age of 36 in a car accident, her wishes were not honored because they were never formalized.

Michael Jackson – the King of Pop executed a pour-over will that placed all his assets in a trust, but he neglected to fund the trust with those assets.  His family continues to battle in court over his assets.

Heath Ledger – the actor neglected to update his will following the birth of his daughter, so all his assets went to his parents and siblings.  Wills should always be updated following a major life event like the birth of a child, a marriage, a divorce, etc.

To avoid any missteps with your estate planning, contact our Orange County law firm.

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