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Casey Kasem Fortune Fight: Is A Family Member Responsible For The Radio Icon's Death?

Why are Casey Kasem’s wife and daughter accusing each other of killing the iconic American Top 40 Countdown host?  Could either of them really have been responsible for his death?

And what did Casey Kasem’s doctors have to say about the controversy? Casey_Kasem

This is the second installment in our Fortune Fights series, based on the celebrity documentary television show, Fortune Fights, for which we serve as hosts, legal commentators and executive producers.  New episodes air on the REELZ network Thursday nights at 9 pm et/pt.  The second episode, Casey Kasem” Fortune Fight, airs February 7th.

Casey Kasem passed away in 2014 at age 82, with a host of medical problems including advanced Lewy Body dementia.  His death came amidst a tragic story of a family feud that grew worse as Casey Kasem aged and now continues years after he died.

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Johnny Depp Is Still Feuding With Amber Heard. Who Is Telling The Truth?

While Johnny Depp is no stranger to the courtroom – having been involved in several different lawsuits in recent years – none have been as impactful or bitter as his ongoing feud with ex-wife Amber Heard.  Did Johnny Depp abuse Amber Heard, both physically and psychologically?  Or were the allegations faked by Heard, as Depp and his legal team still contend?

And can Depp recover from the blows to his career and his fortune from this and other lawsuits? Images

This is the first installment in our Fortune Fights series, based on the celebrity documentary television show, Fortune Fights, for which we serve as hosts, legal commentators and executive producers.  New episodes air on the REELZ network Thursday nights at 9 pm eastern, starting January 31st, with the premiere episode Johnny Depp: Fortune Fight.

Continue reading "Johnny Depp Is Still Feuding With Amber Heard. Who Is Telling The Truth?" »


Celebrity Legacies: Blurred Lines Surround Marvin Gaye Estate

There's nothing like a hit song to keep heirs dancing down the road to the bank -- even when that song wasn't written, composed, or sung by the celebrity singer who died.  Marvin Gaye and Robin Thicke

The heirs of Marvin Gaye hit it big with a judgment against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copyright infringement based on their chart-topping song Blurred Lines ... but will the  victory stand up on appeal?  And what exactly does this mean for the Marvin Gaye Estate?

This is installment #13 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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Using Celebrity Stories Is A Great Way To Bring Up Estate Planning

MarketWatch.com recently featured an interesting article about the benefits that families gain by having the estate planning conversation early.  Not only does it improve family relationships, it helps sets the stage and prepares family members for facing the difficult issues caused by a loved one who ages or passes away.    Trial and Heirs cover 2nd-edition

The article noted how a UBS Wealth Management study recently found that only 43% of affluent Americans felt that having this conversation with their heirs was a pressing issue.  That’s surprising because experts predict that between now and the year 2050, the largest wealth transfer in U.S. history will occur:  a whopping 30 trillion dollars.

The problem is that having this conversation is seldom easy.  Who wants to sit around talking about legal and financial planning for when someone dies or becomes incapacitated?  Most family members are too busy with the stress of their daily work and personal routines to worry about talking to loved ones about death and dying.

While the MarketWatch article includes a couple suggestions, there is one more that we are huge proponents of:  using celebrity stories.  Instead of awkwardly beginning the conversation by asking your loved ones to consider what will happen when you pass away, why not bring up Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Princess Diana, or even Elvis?  These are all celebrities we have recently written about here at Trial & Heirs.

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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.