Monthly Archives: May 2011

Did Ryan O’Neal take advantage of Farrah Fawcett?

Farrah Fawcett, dying from cancer, floated in and out of consciousness and needed a full-time nurse when Ryan O’Neal interceded to appease NBC and make sure a documentary about Fawcett’s struggle with cancer aired in time for the May sweeps period. At least, that’s the picture painted in a recent New York Times article.

We’ve blogged before about the lawsuit which pitted Fawcett-confidant and television producer, Craig Nevius, against the on-again, off-again ex-husband/boyfriend of Fawcett, Ryan O’Neal. Nevius was working with Fawcett to produce a documentary about her struggles with cancer, to help highlight flaws in the American medical system and how it treated cancer patients.

But, NBC wasn’t pleased with the progress of the documentary and insisted that it be completed on time for a May 2009 airing. Nevius did not want to release the footage without final approval from Fawcett, but she was too sick to provide it, he says.

In stepped Ryan O’Neal. He obtained a signature on a document that gave him full control of Read more...

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Should More of Leona Helmsley’s Trust Fund go to Help Dogs?

Leona Helmsley, widely regarded as the “Queen of Mean” before she died at age 87 in 2007, left behind a fortune valued by some to be worth four to eight billion dollars. She earmarked twelve million dollars to take care of her dog, Trouble, until the Judge reduced it to a paltry two million.
Helmsley left most of the remainder of her billions to charity, specifically directing that her trustees were to use their discretion for what charitable purposes to benefit. But she also signed a Mission Statement that instructed the trustees to exercise that discretion first for “purposes related to the provision of care for dogs” and, only secondly, for “such other charitable activities as the Trustees shall determine.”

According to published reports, the trustees of Leona Helmsley’s trust have only given away 100,000 dollars to dog-related charities, out of the 450 million dollars they’ve donated so far to charity. That’s only about one-fiftieth of one percent!
Leona Helmsley’s Trust Fund go to Help Dogs

Several notable animal charities, Read more...

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The Truth About Trusts: Mary Talks Money With Danielle & Andy

Danielle & Andy Mayoras reveal the truth about trusts with Mary Talks Money of ABC’s LiveWell Network:

By Danielle and Andy Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, husband-and-wife legacy expert attorneys, and hosts of an upcoming national PBS special. The charismatic duo has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Forbes, ABC’s Live Well Network, WGN-TV and has lent their expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Kiplinger, and The Washington Post, among many others. As dynamic keynote speakers, Danielle and Andy delight audiences nationwide with highly entertaining and informative presentations, dishing the dirt on celebrity estate battles while dispensing important legal information to help people avoid family fights among their heirs. The couple spends their free time with their 8-year old son and seven-year old boy/girl twins.

For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, subscribe to The Legacy Update at www.TrialandHeirs.com

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$100 Million Trust To Be Divided After 92 Years

The interesting case of a wealthy Michigan lumber baron who died in 1919 highlights how creative someone can be when using a trust in estate planning.
Wellington R. Burt did not want his children, or even his grandchildren, to inherit his wealth, which is now worth around $100 million. So he created an unusual trust, which is described in this article from ABCNews.com:

The descendants of Wellington R. Burt, who became fabulously wealthy in the age of the robber barons, will finally inherit his fortune — 92 years after his death.
Burt, who died in 1919 at age 87 in Saginaw, Mich., made his wealth in the lumber and iron industries. For reasons not described in his will, he stipulated that the majority of his fortune would be distributed 21 years after his last surviving grandchild’s death.

That granddaughter died in 1989. Now 12 descendants will split the fortune, estimated at $100 million to $110 million.
“I don’t think we’ll ever know exactly what it was that ticked him off

Read more...
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Whitney Houston v. Step-Mother Fight Now In Court of Appeals

While Whitney Houston was reportedly just admitted to rehab, she has one other concern that she still has to face — her no-holds-barred court fight with her late father’s widow.

In Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, Andy and Danielle Mayoras discuss the lawsuit involving Whitney Houston against Barbara Houston over a one million dollar life insurance policy.

You can read about Whitney’s battle against her “step-mother”, including how Whitney used the public lawsuit to attack Barbara Houston and her relationship with Whitney’s father, in this excerpt from Trial & Heirs that was featured on The Huffington Post.

The case has now moved on to the Court of Appeals after Whitney scored a big victory in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey late in 2010. The Judge ruled in her favor, even though he first discussed multiple letters sent between various of Whitney Houston’s accountants and attorneys; several letters validated Barbara Houston’s claim.


These letters supported Barbara’s position that the one million dollar Read more...

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Ringling Bros. Circus heirs give new meaning to family feud

Irvin Feld was a rock-and-roll promoter who purchased “The Greatest Show on Earth” in 1967. He created a promotion company to manage the Ringling Bros. Circus, along with Disney on Ice and monster truck shows, but none of his shows have been as eventful as what’s happened between his two children the last few years.

Feld died in his sleep in 1984. He left most of his assets and his business to his son, Kenneth. His daughter, Karen, reportedly received very little and sued her brother claiming he tried to kick her out of her house. They settled and she was allowed to remain.

Karen also sued Kenneth when he was the trustee of a $5 million trust that their uncle set up for them; that was recently settled as well. The siblings agreed to divide the trust in two so Kenneth would not manage the money left in trust for Karen.

But neither of those fights are the ones that produced so much drama. Rather, the big fight started Read more...

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