You are bound to fall flat on your face if you don’t learn from your mistakes. As far as Estate Planning is concerned, you have to learn from the mistakes of others. If you don’t, you are going to repeat them in all probability. Celebrities and high-profile people commit a lot of mistakes in Estate Planning. Taking note of them would help you in the long run as you learn the lesson of what you should do and what you shouldn’t. Below are some of those celebrities whose mistakes have been highlighted in the media over the past few years. Details have also been given regarding where they faltered. Keeping an account of these would prevent you from following in their footsteps.
James Brown was a popular singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, all rolled into one and has given hits such as It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World and others. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee handed over the copyrights of his creations to an educational foundation. Brown was always known to be involved in activism regarding preserving the need for education among children and youths. He declared that all his tangible assets would go to his children, Brown also donated $2 million to educate his grandchildren. The main issue was the ambiguous language that was used in his documents. As a result, his girlfriend and her children filed a case against him. 6 years down the line, after millions were shelled out in estate taxes, a final settlement was reached.
Who doesn’t know Michael Jackson? He was widely known as the King of Pop and after years of his death, Michael is still revered for his contribution to the world of music and dance. His fans would find it hard to believe that their idol made a silly mistake in his lifetime. As per reports, Michael had a trust. Surprisingly, he never donated any money to the trust. This eventually led to a case being filed in the California Probate Court. It was a rather long and expensive battle that was fought to decide the fate of his estate.
James earned fame with his portrayal of Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, the popular drama. He was bestowed upon with a host of awards. Now, it’s very hard to believe that a man of his stature would commit the mistake of leaving a meager 20% of his entire estate to his better half. If he would have left a significant portion for his wife, he could have pretty well avoided the estate tax on that. As a consequence, more than 50% of his total estate, which comprised a fantastic art collection, was spent behind estate taxes.
The business magnate, film director, as well as a philanthropist, rose to prominence in Hollywood, producing films such as Hell’s Angels, The Racket, and Scarface. He was a trained pilot and was also honored with an induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Hughes wanted to donate his total fortune of 42.5 billion for medical research. Unfortunately, a valid will was never to be found, not even after he left for his heavenly abode. What happened to his fortune then? Equal portions of it were given to Hughes’s 22 cousins. Hughes Aircraft Co. was donated to the Hughes Medical Institute before he breathed his last. It was not within his estate.
Any book lover would identify who Michael Crichton is. Even though he is no more amongst us, he is alive through his works. As an author, he has authored some timeless novels such as Jurassic Park, The Great Train Robbery, The Terminal Man, The Lost World, son, and so forth. Michael died at a time when his fifth wife was pregnant with his child. His son came to this world after he was gone. Therefore, his Will and Trust had no idea that a child will take birth after his expiry. Michael’s daughter from one of his previous marriages attempted to keep out his son from the estate. Though the child might have been included in the estate through the California statute, Michael’s language kind of overrode that.
Doris Duke, Prince, and Aretha Franklin, and Casey Kasem are the other celebs who committed blunders in Estate Planning. In case you have an existing Estate Plan, go through your documents properly and ensure that they fulfill whatever wishes you might have.