Paul L. Caron

Friday, December 4, 2009

Estate Planning Mishaps of the Rich and Famous

Trial & Heirs Forbes, Estate Mistakes: Where Heath Ledger And Princess Di Went Wrong; What You Can Learn From the Planning Failures of the Rich and Famous, reviewing Andrew W. Mayoras & Danielle B. Mayoras, Trial & Heirs (Wise Circle Books, 2009):

What do Princess Di, Marlon Brando, Heath Ledger, Jimi Hendrix and former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger have in common? They all flubbed their estate planning, costing intended heirs money and/or grief, according to a readable (really) estate planning how-to book, Trial & Heirs. The new book uses these celebrity cliffhanger cases to dish out real-life advice.

The mistakes these folks made run the gamut. Jimi Hendrix died without a will, leaving his close brother Leon with nothing. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote his own will, which at 176 words left out basic tax clauses that could have saved $450,000 in estate taxes. Princess Di relied on a "letter of wishes" to give away belongings, and her godchildren got shortchanged. For more on these and other celebrity flubs, see our slide show.

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