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National Television Show Will Help Protect Family Fortunes

After months and months of preparation, this weekend we taped our television show, Trial & Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune!  Our show will premiere in Michigan on August 9th at 8 p.m. EST and air on PBS affiliates around the country in November and December.  PBS will also stream the broadcast online for the premiere, through UStream.tv, so that everyone would have an opportunity to view the show in August.   Danielle-Andy-film-their-national-TV-special-300x225

The taping included our show with a live studio audience (they were wonderful!), DVD extras from the two of us, and an interview with Ray Charles, Jr.

Ray shared some touching stories about his famous father as well as the private pain that his father’s estate has caused his family.  Ray’s full interview, including some never-before-told stories, will be available as one of the DVD extras.

We share some behind-the-scenes pictures from our production on our Trial & Heirs Facebook page.  If you’re not already a member of our Facebook page, make sure to “like” it so that you receive the latest from us!

Andy and Danielle with Ray Charles, Jr. Our television special is based on our book, Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! In the show, we use high-profile celebrity stories, like Sonny Bono, Marlon Brando, Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and James Brown, to educate people about wills, trusts and estate planning. The TV special will also help raise money to support the wonderful cause of public television, which needs pledge donations now more than ever with federal funding cuts.

With different pledge amounts, viewers can receive the DVD of the show with DVD extras from us as well as our full interview with Ray; a copy of our book, Trial & Heirs; and our brand new Estate Planning Organizer to help you, your family, and your clients.

We hope that all of you join us for the exciting premiere of Trial & Heirs:  Protect Your Family Fortune! on WTVS Channel 56 and UStream.tv, August 9th at 8pm EST!

By Danielle and Andy Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, husband-and-wife legacy expert attorneys, and hosts of the national TV special, Trial & Heirs:  Protect Your Family Fortune! The charismatic duo has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Forbes, ABC’s Live Well Network, and FOX and NBC affiliates.  They’ve lent their expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Kiplinger, and The Washington Post, among many others.  Danielle and Andy delight audiences nationwide with highly entertaining and informative presentations, dishing the dirt on celebrity estate battles while dispensing important legal information to help people avoid family fights among their heirs.

For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, subscribe to The Trial and Heirs Update at www.TrialandHeirs.com.

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Should Leona Helmsley's Billions Help Dogs As She Wanted?

Leona Helmsley, widely regarded as the “Queen of Mean” before she died at age 87 in 2007, left behind a fortune valued by some to be worth four to eight billion dollars. She earmarked twelve million dollars to take care of her dog, Trouble, until the Judge reduced it to a paltry two million. Leona Helmsley with dog

Helmsley left most of the remainder of her billions to charity, specifically directing that her trustees were to use their discretion for what charitable purposes to benefit. But she also signed a Mission Statement that instructed the trustees to exercise that discretion first for “purposes related to the provision of care for dogs” and, only secondly, for “such other charitable activities as the Trustees shall determine.”

According to published reports, the trustees of Leona Helmsley’s trust have only given away 100,000 dollars to dog-related charities, out of the 450 million dollars they’ve donated so far to charity. That’s only about one-fiftieth of one percent!

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Whitney Houston's Battle vs. Step-Mom Rages On Through Appeal

While Whitney Houston was reportedly just admitted to rehab, she has one other concern that she still has to face — her no-holds-barred court fight with her late father’s widow.  Whitney Houston Trial & Heirs

In Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, Andy and Danielle Mayoras discuss the lawsuit involving Whitney Houston against Barbara Houston over a one million dollar life insurance policy. 

You can read about Whitney’s battle against her “step-mother”, including how Whitney used the public lawsuit to attack Barbara Houston and her relationship with Whitney’s father, in this excerpt from Trial & Heirs that was featured on The Huffington Post.

The case has now moved on to the Court of Appeals after Whitney scored a big victory in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey late in 2010. The Judge ruled in her favor, even though he first discussed multiple letters sent between various of Whitney Houston’s accountants and attorneys; several letters validated Barbara Houston’s claim.

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Michael Jackson Estate, charity settle Heal the World fight

A big trial is set to begin in late April, pitting the executors of the Michael Jackson Estate against the Michael Jackson Trial and Heirs operator of the Heal the World charitable foundation. The charity has many supporters, including Michael Jackson’s parents, Katherine and Joe Jackson.  

Not only has Katherine supported the charity against the executors, but she did so with a surprising attack against John Branca, the lawyer who is one of two estate executors.

Katherine Jackson has battled with the executors before, but it all seemed resolved in late 2009 after her surprising change of heart.  But clearly, there is plenty of fighting left!

What did Katherine Jackson say, under oath, to support this charity? Is this is a sign of more fighting yet to come? What could have been done differently in Michael Jackson’s estate planning to prevent this fight?

Danielle and Andy Mayoras of Trial & Heirs answer these questions and more in this video:

 


4/19/11 Update:  The Estate and the Heal the World Foundation have now reached a settlement, reportedly following a meeting between Katherine Jackson's new lawyer and the Estate's attorney.  Reportedly, the Estate will now control the charity, with both Katherine Jackson and Melissa Johnson (the woman who was running the charity sued by the Estate) will serve on the board of directors.

By Andy and Danielle Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, husband-and-wife legacy expert attorneys, and hosts of an upcoming national PBS special.  The charismatic duo has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Forbes, ABC's Live Well Network, WGN-TV and has lent their expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources.  As dynamic keynote speakers, Danielle and Andy delight audiences nationwide with highly entertaining and informative presentations, dishing the dirt on celebrity estate battles while dispensing important legal information.

For legal help in Michigan, visit Andy and Danielle's law firm's websites, The Center for Elder Law and The Center for Probate LitigationFor the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, subscribe to The Legacy Update at www.TrialandHeirs.com.

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James Brown Estate Battle Still Rocking On!

The battle over James Brown’s final wishes began very shortly after the Godfather of Soul passed away on Christmas Day of 2006. And it’s still going strong.  James_Brown-1

The probate judge approved a settlement among his heirs in 2009, seemingly ending the fight then. One-half of his estate was to pass to charity through a trust, and the other one-half divided between his widow and his children. You can read about the prior settlement here.

But don’t forget about his former manager! What does she have to do with anything? It seems that Jacquelyne Hollander believes she should have been involved in the settlement too. She didn’t like being left out.

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Will Elizabeth Taylor's Family Fight Over Her Fortune?

Widely recognized as one of the best and most popular actresses of all times, Elizabeth Taylor’s death this week at the age of 79 caused great sadness throughout Hollywood — and indeed the whole world. Given her success, both on the screen and off, perhaps it should be no surprise that Elizabeth Taylor’s fortune has just been estimated to be worth as much as one billion dollars.   Liz Taylor

Why so much? Certainly movie royalties alone could not account for that kind of value in her estate. Instead, as ABC News recently reported, her perfume and other business ventures were groundbreaking and highly profitable.

The ABC News article also included portions of an interview with both of us, in which we addressed what one would expect in terms of estate planning for a person of such great wealth and fame. But, as we explained in the interview, there are many examples of wealthy Hollywood celebrities who pass away with very poor estate planning, or no planning at all.

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Dennis Hopper's Widow Turns Divorce Battle into New Lawsuit

The divorce contest between the late Dennis Hopper and his wife, Victoria Duffy-Hopper, was ugly when he was alive.  It’s turned even uglier since he’s passed away.   Dennis Hopper

Duffy-Hopper dropped a new bomb on the children of the Easy Rider star, and the Trustees of his Trust, by filing two new lawsuits recently in Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles.

In the cases, she claims that his children wrongfully forced her to move out of Hopper’s house, so they could grab a bigger inheritance at her expense.  She alleges Marin Hopper, one of Hopper’s children from a prior marriage, manipulated, coerced and told Hopper “cruel lies”.  She did this, according to one of the lawsuits, to drive a wedge between the happy couple and force him to file for divorce.

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