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Celebrity Legacies: The Anna Nicole Smith Estate Battle

So how long exactly does it take to resolve the dispute over the estate of an 89-year old Texas oil tycoon who married a 26-year old stripper and Playboy Playmate?  Shouldn't the case end when both the stripper (Anna Nicole Smith) and her "step-son" (Pierce Marshall, who was 27 years older than she was) die?  Anna_Nicole_Smith

And is this really important enough to be heard by the United States Supreme Court, not once, but twice?

This is installment #3 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.

While we monitor, write about, and provide commentary for media outlets around the country about many complicated celebrity estates, this one takes the prize.  We call it "The Grand-Daddy Of All Estate Battles."  We've written several articles about this case so far, which you can read here.

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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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Jim Morrison's Estate And Legacy Marred By Probate Fights

Who opened the door to battles over the Jim Morrison Estate?  Who won ... and what did they win when the dust settled?  And does drinking your loved one's blood constitute a valid marriage ceremony?Jim_Morrison

This is installment #2 of our weekly 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.  

Legendary Doors singer Jim Morrison died young at just 27 years of age, in 1971, from a heroin overdose. While his estate had limited cash when Morrison died, the assets in his estate became worth around $80 million.

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Celebrity Legacies TV Show Premieres With James Gandolfini

We all know about the estates of Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith, right?  But what about Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger, Elvis Presley, and John F. Kennedy, Jr.?  Last week, the Reelz Channel premiered a new television series called Celebrity Legacies.   James Gandolfini Sopranos

The documentary series explores a different celebrity each week, discussing their legacies, estates, and what they left behind: Feuding heirs? Mounting debt?  Or a golden legacy glittered with fame and fortune? 

The premiere episode delved into James Gandolfini.  The late Soprano’s star died shockingly in 2013, leaving behind two young children — from two different marriages — and an estate plan that was, well, not exactly perfect.

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Trial and Heirs Top Tips For The New Year

It's the beginning of the year, which means that we all have well-intended New Year's resolutions.  The diet, the exercise regimen, saving money...and finally doing our estate and financial planning.  The celebrity stories in Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! can help motivate you to actually do your planning in 2014.  Really!   Trial and Heirs Famous Fortune Fights

Here are some of our easy-to-use tips for the new year:

1.  Get your financial affairs organized in 2014.  Create an "asset" list, including the account numbers, names of financial institutions, and related information for your insurance, stocks, bonds, CDs, securities, bank accounts and other investments.

2.  Store your asset list and your estate planning documents in a fireproof box, safe, or safety deposit box.  Remember to make sure that your loved ones can find and access these documents!  We have an Estate Planning Organizer to help you with this.  Just email us at contact@trialandheirs.com if you want to learn more.

3.  Review and update your estate planning documents and your financial plan with your professionals in 2014, especially if you haven't done so in the last few years or if you've experienced any life events, such as the birth of a child or a divorce.

4.  If you have a revocable living trust, work with your estate planning team to ensure that your investments, insurance, and other assets are properly titled into your trust.  If this isn't done, then the trust doesn't do you much good!

5.  Have the conversation with your loved ones about their estate planning.  Remind them how important it is to have power of attorneys, a will, and for most people, a trust.  The celebrity stories in Trial & Heirs are a great way to get this conversation started!

Feel free to share these New Years resolutions with your family members, loved ones, clients and prospects to help motivate them to get their estate planning in order!

By Danielle and Andrew Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!  For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, click here to subscribe to The Trial & Heirs Update.  You can “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Google+.

For legal help in Michigan, visit Danielle and Andy's law firm.


Access Hollywood Explores Britney Spears Conservatorship

Access Hollywood featured a segment about the Britney Spears Conservatorship. The show examined how the successful entertainer can headline a new multi-million dollar Las Vegas show and mentor young singers as an X Factor Judge, yet not be deemed competent enough to manage her basic life decisions like food, clothing and shelter.

Danielle and Andy Mayoras of Trial & Heirs served as experts for the segment. After watching the segment, what do you think?  Does Britney Spears still need the protection of a conservator — almost six years after the legal proceeding started — or is this all about the money? Watch Access Hollywood‘s segment on the Britney Spears Conservatorship:

 

By Danielle and Andrew Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!  For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, click here to subscribe to The Trial & Heirs Update.  You can “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Google+.

For legal help in Michigan, visit Danielle and Andy's law firm.


Learn From Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes

As two lawyers who have written about celebrity estates for years and hosted the national television special Trial and Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune! on PBS affiliates, we’ve noticed that stars often make the same big mistakes as people with very modest assets. It’s just the dollar amounts that differ.   Amy_Winehouse_in_2007

Learn from their goofs and avoid repeating them yourself. That way, you’ll protect your loved ones and be sure your inheritance wishes are carried out.

These are the top four estate-planning mistakes made by celebs — errors you’ll want to avoid:

 1. No will. Most of us naturally want to be sure our assets are distributed properly after we pass away, so it’s surprising that almost two-thirds of adults don’t even have simple wills. Whether you have millions of dollars or just a modest estate, estate planning is critical — starting with a will.

Unfortunately for the family of Amy Winehouse, the singer didn’t have a will when she unexpectedly passed away at age 27, leaving behind a $6.7 million estate.

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