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Top 10 Celebrity Stories To Spark Holiday Estate Planning Conversations

Sure the holidays are a fun time for families to sit around talking about what happened on the latest episode of The Walking Dead or how granddaughter Mary is doing in dance class.  But they are also a great time to have the important -- yet often difficult -- conversations about estate planning.  What happens when Mom dies?  Does anyone know where Dad kept his will?  Did they ever transfer the investment accounts into their revocable living trust like they were supposed to?   Walking dead

Many families don't ask these tough questions ... especially when dynamics are strained, like in many second-marriage families or when siblings don't get along well.  It certainly isn't easy to blurt out after passing the gravy, "Hey Dad, does your will put me or your wife in charge of your estate?"

But these conversations are important.  When the proper estate planning isn't done, it's the family members left behind who pay the price, often with bitter, ugly, and costly probate court battles.  They happen to families all across the country on a daily basis, from those of modest wealth to the very rich.

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Mick Jagger Can't Get No Satisfaction; Ugly Lawsuit Settles

It's rough being Mick Jagger sometimes.  Even as the front man for the famed Rolling Stones, he Can't Always Get What he Wants.  But when he tries, at least sometimes, he  just might find ... that he gets what he needs.  These days, what Sir Mick (as he is known officially in England) truly needs is some peace and quiet ... and a little privacy.  Is it too much to ask to Get Off of his Cloud?  Mick Jagger

Sir Mick took a beating in the media last week when a lawsuit that he had hoped to keep quiet became very public.  That is what often happens with lawsuits involving those in the public eye, especially in this digital age. In many courts across the country -- federal courts especially, but more and more probate and other states courts too -- anyone who knows how to track down the electronic court records and is willing to pay a small cost can read all the juicy details about court battles from the comforts of their own home.

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Celebrity Legacies: Kurt Cobain Burns Too Bright, His Death Sparks 20 Years Of Fighting

It has been more than twenty years since Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, died from a shotgun blast to his head, at age 27. His talent, passion, and creativity launched a new movement for not only rock music, but American culture itself.  Kurt-Cobain

This is installment #7 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

Cobain was a game-changer who burned too bright -- brighter than he could handle. His suicide note summarized it well: "I don't have the passion anymore, and so remember, it's better to burn out than to fade away."

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Celebrity Legacies: The Fleecing Of The Elvis Presley Estate

Elvis Presley earned more than one billion dollars during his career … so why was his estate worth only about ten million dollars when he died?  How did things get even worse for his heirs afterwards?   Elvis presley memphis

And what would Elvis Presley say about appearing as a hologram?

This is installment #6 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

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Celebrity Legacies: Yoko and Julian Battled Over John Lennon's Estate

When John Lennon of the Beatles was tragically murdered in 1980, his controversial widow, Yoko Ono, took charge of his legacy and his fortune ... but where did that leave his two sons? As arguably the most successful songwriter of all time, what did Lennon leave behind?   John Lennon and Yoko Ono

And what did the King of Pop have to do with John Lennon's legacy?

This is installment #5 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

He famously sang "All You Need Is Love."  When it came to leaving money for his first-born son, John Lennon must have had that song in mind, because he apparently didn't believe that Julian needed money.  In fact, according to Lennon's first wife, Julian's mother Cynthia, the man known as the "cool" Beatle was a cruel negotiator during their divorce. Cynthia says he refused to give more than 75,000 pounds for her and Julian, supposedly telling her she wasn't worth any more.

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Celebrity Legacies: Whitney Houston No Stranger To Estate Trouble

Whitney Houston's fortune bounced from sky-high to significant debt.  What did this mean for her estate?  And was it money — or something else — behind Whitney’s ugly legal battle with her “step-mother”?  Whitney_Houston_performing_on_GMA-300x231

How exactly does Bobby Brown fit into all of this?

This is installment #4 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

Before Whitney Houston unexpectedly drowned in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub at age 48, on February 11, 2012, rumors circulated that she was in such financial trouble that she was nearly broke.  She reportedly died $20 million in debt.

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Will Robin Williams' Estate Be Broke?

The initial shock of Robin Williams’ tragic death, apparently from hanging himself, is giving way to reflections of his memory and legacy. Another question many people are asking is what happens next for his family and his estate. He was survived by his third wife, Susan Schneider, to whom he was married for three years, and three adult children from his prior two marriages, whose ages range from 22 to 31. There is a realistic fear that Williams’ death left may have left them in financial distress.   Robin Williams

In an interview with Parade Magazine in 2013, Williams lamented how he was required to change his lifestyle because of how much he lost in his two divorces (reportedly, $30 million). He said he returned to TV because of “bills to pay.” Williams also admitted to listing his Napa Valley estate for sale because he could no longer afford it.

Robin Williams‘ publicist recently said that he was not in financial trouble and his comments were not to be taken seriously. Regardless of whether his publicist is trying to protect his image, or if Williams was being truthful in the interview, Robin Williams family members will be far from destitute.

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