Trials and Heirs
Did you Know?
Chief Justice Warren Burger left a will that contained only 176 words for an estate worth over $1.8 million.
“Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley created a $12 million trust to care for her Maltese named Trouble.
Marlon Brando changed his will a mere 13 days before dying.
The estate of Jimi Hendrix was still being fought over more than thirty years after his death.
Martin Luther King, Jr. never took the time to make out a will.
Estate planning attorney, Danielle Mayoras and probate attorney Andrew Mayoras have compiled stories of highly publicized estate battles of celebrities and other wealthy individuals. While it’s interesting to peek into the courtroom to see how the rich failed to adequately prepare their estates, the authors have a much nobler goal for their book. Intertwined with the tabloid stories, they provide concrete information about estate planning that is easy to understand. They want to make sure you don’t encounter the same trauma with your estate.
Trials and Heirs is divided into sections covering wills, trusts, mental competency, and executors. In addition to the titillating celebrity stories are suggestions to “Avoid a family fight!” and “Ideas to Spark Family Discussion.” While few people like to discuss estate planning, the book provides easy to follow steps to help you understand the process and how to prepare an estate plan that will serve you and your heirs. Tucked throughout the book are definitions of common words used in estate planning. Did you know that ‘Codicil’ is a “fancy word meaning amendment to a will?”
You’re probably thinking you’re not a mega wealthy celebrity. It’s easy to look at the stories in Trial and Heirs concluding that their estate problems don’t relate to you. You may be thinking, “I don’t have a million dollar estate. Why do I need a will or trust?” Think about all the people you know. I bet you know someone whose heirs struggled because they hadn’t adequately prepared their estate. My godmother never talked to her siblings after a battle over a family farm.
Whether you pick up the book for at a peak at the messed up estates of celebrities or you desire to learn more about this topic for yourself, it’s a great introduction to a subject most of us are reluctant to discuss. This is also a great book for financial planners, attorneys and other professionals to give to their clients who don’t have a will or trust.