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February 2011

Mickey Rooney says his stepson is abusing him

Famed 90-year-old actor Mickey Rooney, who has won an Oscar, Emmy and a Golden Globe, now plays a much sadder role.  It's one that is far more common than most people realize.  Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney says he has been a victim of elder abuse at the hands of his stepson, who has made him a prisoner in his own home.  In a recent court filing, Rooney alleges that the stepson, Chris Aber, along with Aber's wife, have taken control of his finances, intercepted his mail and even forced him to do performances he did not wish to do. 

Rooney says they've also drained almost $400,000 from his bank accounts and refused to give him his own ID cards, passport, and Screen Actor's Guild card.  In fact, a judge recently ordered Aber to turn the cards over to Rooney within 24 hours.

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Do Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen Need Conservatorships?

It seems that conservatorships may become a new trend to help wild and out-of-control celebrities in Hollywood.

It sure helped Britney Spears.  After her escapades of a hairless head, posing for the paparazzi with no panties, and excessive partying and drinking, her father, James Spears, filed for conservatorship.  This allowed him to become her legal decision-maker and help turn her life and career around.Lindsay-lohan-mugshot

Then came talk of a conservatorship for Lindsay Lohan.  She's had multiple DUI arrests and been sentenced to jail time and rehab, more than once.  Most recently, she's facing a possible felony sentence for allegedly lifting a diamond necklace from a jewelry store.

A few months ago, Lindsay bristled at the reports that her father was attempting to file for conservatorship over her.  Michael Lohan did not end up filing the court case, but with this latest criminal trouble, can another attempt be far off?

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Petition Filed Seeking to Reopen Barnes Art Case

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.  Dr. Albert Barnes

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.

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Malcolm X legacy tied up in family feud

Before he was assassinated in 1964, Malcolm X was a polarizing figure.  He was revered by many as one of the greatest African-American figures ever, but was accused of racism and anti-semitism by others.  Perhaps it should not be surprising that his financial legacy is embroiled in conflict and strife.  The resulting family feud has created a mess that has not been resolved for more than 14 years.  Malcom X

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little, but became El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.  His widow, Dr. Betty Shabazz, died tragically from severe burns she received in a fire in 1997, when she was 61.  The fire was set by their 12-year old grandson. 

No will of Dr. Shabazz was found, although some family members thought she had one.  The probate court in New York overseeing her estate appointed two of the couple's six daughters as the estate administrators.  

While the estate was at one time valued at around $1.4 million, with the potential to earn much more, an unpaid tax debt has continued to grow as the family fights.  This New York Times article about the family battle reports that the tax debt has grown so large during the fighting that it now exceeds the value of the estate.

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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.

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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  Of course, discussions of a few celebrity cases are included, such as Wesley Snipes, Anna Nicole Smith, and Farrah Fawcett.

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