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Farrah Fawcett trust in the midst of ugly lawsuit

Richard Francis is the trustee of The Fawcett Living Trust, Farrah Fawcett's trust which details how she wanted her money to pass.  You can read the Probate Lawyer Blog's prior article discussing this interesting trust hereFarrah-fawcett-young

On behalf of the trust, Francis sued Hollywood producer Craig Nevius accusing him of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Fawcett's company and botching production of a television documentary showing her struggles with cancer.

Nevius is not taking the lawsuit lying down.  In fact, he says the entire case is a thinly-disguised attempt by Francis to use money from Fawcett's trust to protect his own interests.  Nevius had already sued Francis, as well as Ryan O'Neal (Fawcett's longtime companion) and her friend Alana Stewart when Nevius felt they wrongly excluded him from producing the documentary, which aired on NBC in May of 2009.  In other words, Nevius says that this lawsuit by Francis is retaliation to get back at him for his lawsuit.

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Farrah Fawcett's Trust provides a good lesson

It's been widely reported across various websites in the last couple days that Farrah Fawcett's will has been revealed and it "shockingly" disinherited her longtime ex-boyfriend Ryan O'Neal (father to her son, Redmond).  These reports are wrong on several levels.Fawcett family

First, the document was her Trust, not her will.  You can read it here, courtesy of Radaronline.com.  This is an important distinction.  Wills are public records and must always be filed in probate to be effective, which allows anyone interested to read them.  Trusts, on the other hand, are private documents, normally kept out of court and the public eye. 

As I wrote in this article this past July, the contents of Fawcett's Trust were leaked by an anonymous "source" then, and now the whole trust document has been revealed.  This is unusual.  Normally that is one of the primary reasons why trusts are used, to keep affairs private (and out of probate court).

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Preview into Farrah's Fawcett's will and trust

The United Kingdom's Daily Mail newspaper reported that it has learned the contents of Farrah Fawcett's will and at least the basic provisions of her trust.  Fawcett died tragically on June 25th; she was 62 years old.  Her battle with cancer was well-documented.  Farrah_Fawcett_iconic_pinup_1976

Quoting an anonymous "source", the paper states that Fawcett left most of her money in trust for her 24-year-old son, Redmond, who is in jail for drug-related charges.  She also left a bequest to her alma mater, Texas University.

Normally trusts are private documents that keep details like these out of the public eye.  Wills are public records and can be read by anyone, because all wills have to pass through probate court.  The Daily Mail states that Fawcett's will is to be released in the next couple of weeks.  It also reports that her estate is worth 5.5 million dollars. 

With so many celebrities demonstrating how not to do good estate planning (such as Steve McNair who died without a will, and Michael Jackson who had a trust but did not fund it properly), Fawcett's reported 2007 will and trust show a good example of how to plan the right way.

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