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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Even the Rich and Famous are Victims of Poor Estate Planning

In his recent article in Wealth Management, Jim Moniz illustrates how estate planning, or a lack thereof, has come to be known as the "great equalizer."  With so many newsworthy battles of heirs and estate planning disasters, Mr. Moniz ponders how a majority of American adults still have no plan in place for the assets they leave behind.  Here are a few examples:

Sonny Bono: He left his third wife to manage claims from Cher and an alleged love child in an estate worth an estimated $1.7 million, including the right to exercise Sonny's music rights. He did not set up a will or a trust before his untimely death in a skiing accident.

Howard Hughes: This famous businessman, aviator, and philanthropist died intestate after a handwritten will found on a church official's desk was deemed forged. One of the richest people in the world, his $2.5 billion estate was split among 22 cousins after thirty-four years of litigation.

James Brown: James Brown tried to leave his $100 million to a special trust to benefit poor and needy children. He did not discuss his wishes with his family, however, and failed to update his will while he was married to his fourth wife. These mistakes left his money in limbo and ultimately only benefited legal teams.

To read the article in its entirety, see Jim Moniz, "Lessons of the Rich and Famous,", Nov. 21, 2012.

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