We often idolize celebrities, assuming that they have the money and wherewithal to tackle legal problems without making mistakes. The rich and famous though, as it turns out, are human after all. In fact, when it comes to estate planning, they often make the same mistakes as the rest of us. Consider, for example, the following:
Heath Ledger – the famous young actor died at the age of 28 in 2008. Although he did leave behind a Last Will and Testament, it was written three years prior to his death. More importantly, it was not updated after his relationship with Michelle Williams began and after the birth of their daughter, Matilda Rose. His partner and daughter received nothing from his estate and had to rely on his father (who did inherit under the Will) to provide for his daughter.
Michael Jackson – the king of pop did have an estate plan and even went so far as to create a trust; however, he failed to adequately fund the trust. This then led to a lengthy, costly, and very public feud in probate court over the trust.
Florence Griffith Joyner – Olympic star Joyner died at the young age of 38. Although she did execute a Last Will and Testament prior to her death, she failed to tell her husband where she left the original document. As a result, disputes arose and her estate took four years to complete in the probate court.
To avoid making the same estate planning errors these celebrities made, consult with your estate planning attorney.
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