There are a lot of advantages to having fame and fortune, but like anything in life, wealth and fame do not guarantee that the individual has an appropriately planned estate. Indeed, a lot can go wrong during the will planning process if it is not done by a professional. In the worst of cases, an individual’s intended heirs receive nothing at all.
Take Marilyn Monroe for example. The actress and model wanted to donate the majority of her fortune to charity, but she did not formalize those wishes in a legal document. Instead, in a will she left most of her assets to an acting coach, who she believed would turn the money over to charity as she wanted. However, the man did not give her estate up to charity. Instead, he left it to his wife when he died. His wife later generated approximately $30 million in royalties from Monroe’s photos.
Next, there is Elvis Presley. Estate taxes, settlement costs and probate fees ate up approximately 73 percent of the rock star’s estate. These costs could have been avoided if rock star has created a revocable trust to protect his assets from being unnecessarily lost.
Clearly, most Florida residents would be jealous to have lived the glorious and luxurious lives of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, but when it comes to their estate planning and will planning disasters, very few would look at these situations with envy. That said, by studying the lives of the rich and famous, we can often learn valuable legal lessons on what to avoid in our own situations.
Source: montereyherald.com, “Kenneth Petersen, Financial Planning: Estate planning failures of the rich and famous” Kenneth Petersen, Mar. 04, 2015