Not many people — even celebrities — can claim a record as impressive as the Kim Kardashian divorce with Kris Humphries. The marriage: 72 days. The divorce: 536 days. But, it’s finally over.
And according to reports, it was Kris Humphries who caved at the last minute to settle the case, just weeks ahead of the May 6 trial date. Per TMZ, Humphries had been demanding either an annulment based on fraud or a $7 million pay-out.
So why the change of heart for Humphries? For one, it’s seldom easy to prove a case of fraud in court. It’s easy to claim fraud, but in divorce, civil, and probate cases alike, actually finding the goods to prove fraud is not easy. Humphries’ lawyers tried, conducting many depositions and digging through extensive records. Reportedly, they did not find enough proof that Kim Kardashian tricked Humphries into the marriage or staged it only for publicity.
Kim Kardashian Divorce Settlement
ABC News published an interesting story about a key deposition from the Read more...
Michael Jackson at Cannes festival (Wikipedia)
Jury selection began yesterday for the Michael Jackson death trial. It’s the trial of Katherine Jackson and Michael’s children against concert promoter AEG Live. The Jackson heirs reportedly will ask the jury for $40 billion in damages against AEG Live. They blame the company for Dr. Conrad Murray’s ill-fated propofol treatment of the late King of Pop.
What is the Michael Jackson death trial really about? Can the concert promoter be held legally responsible for Dr. Murray’ criminal mistreatment of Michael Jackson?
The answers are complicated and will be sorted out over the course of the next two to three months in front of a Los Angeles jury. The trial will turn on two key questions: Did AEG Live “hire” Dr. Murray to treat Michael Jackson, and if so, was it foreseeable to AEG that Dr. Murray could overdose Michael? If the jury determines that the answer to both questions is yes, then it would then have to determine how much blame should be Read more...
Celebrities are not the only ones to make mistakes with their estate planning. It happens to people all across the country on a regular basis. The end result — just like with the rich and famous — often is an ugly and expensive family fight in court. One of the most common estate planning mistakes that people make is joint ownership.
For the most part, we’re not talking about when a husband and wife have joint bank accounts or the title to their home is held in both of their names. While not ideal for estate planning, this is quite common and can often be used without problems, except in many second-marriage situations or large estates that may suffer adverse tax consequences.
The area where we see significant problems, however, is when a parent adds a child’s name to an asset, such as a bank account, investment, or real estate. This is often done to help with bill paying, as a will-substitute to avoid probate court (often called a “poor-man’s Read more...
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
William Davidson and Melvin Simon had a lot in common. Both were billionaires and both were Jewish. Simon built his fortune through the country’s biggest shopping mall company, Simon Property Group, and Forbes estimated his net worth at $1.3 billion. Davidson led Guardian Industries Corp., one of the world’s largest glass suppliers, and had a fortune recently tabbed at $4.5 billion.
They also each owned NBA franchises in the midwest. Davidson owned the Detroit Pistons (yeah!), while Simon co-owned the rival Indiana Pacers (boo!) with his brother, Herbert Simon.
Both men died last year, with Davidson passing away at age 86 in March and Simon passing in October, at age 82. And both were survived by spouses as well as children from prior marriages.
And, in both instances, the spouse and the children from the prior marriage did not see eye to eye. Because of that, both the Davidson Estate and Simon Estate are mired in lawsuits about the true wishes of the beloved billionaires.
In Davidson’s case, there are Read more...
Danielle Mayoras was recently quoted in this interesting article by the Detroit Free Press about the growing epidemic of exploitation of the elderly. It discussed a very sad case where a daughter took hundreds of thousands of dollars from her elderly mother and now is in jail saying the money is gone and she can’t return it.
This is one example of how more and more families are facing the devastation caused by exploitation of elderly loved ones, often by a family member or caregiver.
So how do families protect their golden seniors, whose lifetime of savings can often be a tempting target for desperate or unethical people? There are no magic answers, but here are a few Trial & Heirs Tips that we provided to the Detroit Free Press which ran next to the newspaper story:
1. Get expert advice. Consider consulting an estate lawyer who will know the ins and outs of estate planning. It’s usually money well spent.
2. Beware of Joint Accounts. When you add Read more...