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November 2011

Pass The Turkey With A Side Of MORE Celebrity Estate Planning Stories (Part II)

Did you know that family gatherings during the holidays are a great time to talk about celebrities, such as Whitney Houston, and how they can help your family avoid fighting when someone dies?  

This is Part 2 of Trial & Heirs’ Top 5 Celebrity-Based Estate Planning Conversation Starters for Thanksgiving 2011:

(Did you miss Part 1?  Click here.)

3. Whitney Houston   Whitney_Houston-_Just_Whitney_Cover

Whitney Houston has been locked in a vicious court battle with her step-mother over a $1 million life insurance policy from Whitney’s father, which named Whitney as the sole beneficiary.  Whitney’s step-mother, Barbara, sued Whitney and claimed the money was meant for her, not Whitney.  Whitney had lent her father money and held a private mortgage over his home, which Barbara received when Whitney’s father died in 2003.  Barbara said the life insurance was meant to repay that money and Whitney was supposed to release the mortgage and turn the rest of the life insurance money over to Barbara.

Continue reading "Pass The Turkey With A Side Of MORE Celebrity Estate Planning Stories (Part II)" »


Pass The Turkey With A Side of Celebrity Estate Planning Stories (Part I)

What family won’t be talking about Kim Kardashian and Michael Jackson at their Thanksgiving dinner? Dishing celebrity dirt is as natural as turkey and pumpkin pie.  But did you ever think that celebrity gossip could actually help your family?   Kim_Kardashian

We use celebrity stories to turn the often-awkward conversation about estate planning into something fun and entertaining.  Let’s face it … no one really likes to think about planning for what happens after they pass away.  But, it’s the family left behind that pays the price when the proper planning isn’t done.

A great way to get the dialogue flowing, and to turn an awkward conversation into something fun and engaging, is with celebrity stories.  What better time to do this than when the family is gathered together for Thanksgiving?

Here is Part 1 (out of 2) to our Trial & Heirs’ Top 5 Celebrity-Based Estate Planning Conversation Starters for Thanksgiving 2011:

Continue reading "Pass The Turkey With A Side of Celebrity Estate Planning Stories (Part I)" »


James Brown Estate Battles Through Debt and Extended Fighting

The Godfather of Soul died on Christmas Day, 2006. His estate has been marred by fighting ever since. Here’s our Forbes recap of the legal troubles which have left James Brown’s estate and wishes in limbo.   James Brown

The Associated Press reported last week that the court battles devastated his estate so much that his charitable trust had dwindled in value all the way down to $14,000, with $20 million of debt, until a 2009 settlement.  This was quite a drop, because original estimates of the value of Brown’s estate came in at the $100 million mark.

The settlement — which was supposed to end all of the fighting — called for about half of Brown’s assets to pass to a charitable trust, with one-quarter going to his widow and the rest passing to all of his children.  The deal also led to the court appointment of a new attorney to administer the estate, Russell Bauknight.

Continue reading "James Brown Estate Battles Through Debt and Extended Fighting" »