Tag Archives: Celebrity Legacies

Celebrity Legacies: Kurt Cobain Estate At The Heart Of 20 Years Of Fighting

It has been more than twenty years since Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, died from a shotgun blast to his head, at age 27. His talent, passion, and creativity launched a new movement for not only rock music, but American culture itself.  Kurt Cobain

Cobain was a game-changer who burned too bright — brighter than he could handle.   Kurt Cobain suicide note summarized it well:  “I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”

Cobain’s death may have epitomized the burning out of a flame that grew too hot, but it sparked something else — court fights and ugly battles over his legacy that continued for almost 20 years.

This is installment #7 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

Kurt Cobain Estate – Celebrity Legacies

His widow, Courtney Love, has been Read more...

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Harry, William Inherit Princess Diana Estate Amid Hard Questions

Prince Harry celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this week. His mother, the iconic Princess Diana, passed away over 17 years ago, following the tragic crash as Diana and Dodi Fayed sped away from paparazzi in France.  What was so special about Harry’s 30th birthday (other than the fact that he’s still single, to the delight of eligible women throughout England)?  That’s the day Harry became entitled to receive the remaining half of Princess Diana’s assets.

Prince HarryAfter Diana passed on August 31, 1997, her mother, Frances Ruth Shand Kydd, and her sister, Lady Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia McCorquodale, became executors of her Estate, based on Diana’s last will and testament dated June 1, 1993 (amended through a codicil in 1996).  The probate filings at the time showed that Diana left behind assets valued at around £21 million (or worth about 31.5 million in USD at the time), netting £17 million after inheritance taxes.  Originally, the will called for these assets to be held in trust for Diana’s sons, Princes William and Harry, Read more...

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Celebrity Legacies: The Fleecing Of The Elvis Presley Estate

Elvis Presley earned more than one billion dollars during his career … so why was his estate worth only about ten million dollars when he died?  How did things get even worse for his heirs afterwards?

Elvis Presley EstateAnd what would Elvis Presley say about appearing as a hologram?

This is installment #6 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

There can be no doubt that Elvis Presley truly earned his nickname as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  His lifetime earnings topped one billion dollars over his 25-year career — especially impressive considering this came in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.

Celebrity Legacies Preview On The Elvis Presley Estate

 

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Some of Elvis’ financial success is attributed to his manager and promoter, Colonel Tom Parker.  He helped Elvis secure unprecedented movie deals — paying him top dollar Read more...

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Celebrity Legacies: Yoko and Julian Battled Over John Lennon’s Estate

When John Lennon of the Beatles was tragically murdered in 1980, his controversial widow, Yoko Ono, took charge of his legacy and his fortune … but where did that leave his two sons? As arguably the most successful songwriter of all time, what did Lennon leave behind?  John Lennon's Estate

And what did the King of Pop have to do with John Lennon’s legacy?

This is installment #5 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

He famously sang “All You Need Is Love.”  When it came to leaving money for his first-born son, John Lennon must have had that song in mind, because he apparently didn’t believe that Julian needed money.  In fact, according to Lennon’s first wife, Julian’s mother Cynthia, the man known as the “cool” Beatle was a cruel negotiator during their divorce. Cynthia says he refused to give more than 75,000 Read more...

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Celebrity Legacies: Whitney Houston No Stranger To Estate Trouble

Whitney Houston’s fortune bounced from sky-high to significant debt.  What did this mean for her estate?  And was it money — or something else — behind Whitney’s ugly legal battle with her “step-mother”? 

How exactly does Bobby Brown fit into all of this?

This is installment #4 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

Before Whitney Houston unexpectedly drowned in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub at age 48, on February 11, 2012, rumors circulated that she was in such financial trouble that she was nearly broke.  She reportedly died $20 million in debt.

How could that be possible for the singer who signed a $100 million record contract in 2001?  And 2001 doesn’t even rank as her most successful year!  In 1993, Whitney earned $33 million from The Bodyguard soundtrack and gave birth to her only child, Bobbi Kristina.

Whitney Houston

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Celebrity Legacies: The Anna Nicole Smith Estate Battle (a/k/a The Case That Never Ends)

So how long exactly does it take to resolve the dispute over the estate of an 89-year old Texas oil tycoon who married a 26-year old stripper and Playboy Playmate?  Shouldn’t the case end when both the stripper (Anna Nicole Smith) and her “step-son” (Pierce Marshall, who was 27 years older than she was) die?  Anna Nicole Smith Estate

And is this really important enough to be heard by the United States Supreme Court, not once, but twice?

This is installment #3 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

While we monitor, write about, and provide commentary for media outlets around the country about many complicated celebrity estates, this one takes the prize.  We call it “The Grand-Daddy Of All Estate Battles.”  We’ve written several articles about this case so far, which you can read here.

Celebrity Legacies on Reelz

How The Anna Nicole

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Celebrity Legacies: Jim Morrison’s Will Leads To Estate Battle

Who opened the door to battles over the Jim Morrison Estate?  Who won … and what did they win when the dust settled?  And does drinking your loved one’s blood constitute a valid marriage ceremony?Jim Morrison estate

This is installment #2 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

Doors front-man Jim Morrison died young at just 27 years of age, in 1971, from a heroin overdose. While his estate had limited cash when Morrison died, the assets in his estate became worth around $80 million.

Jim Morrison’s Estate

Despite his young age, hard-partying lifestyle, and free spirit, Jim Morrison took some steps to protect his estate … sort of.  Two years before he died, Morrison created a will.  It was a simplistic and poorly-drafted will, but a valid will nonetheless.

At least, it appeared to be valid initially.  It left everything to his Read more...

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Celebrity Legacies TV Show Premieres With James Gandolfini

We all know about the estates of Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith, right?  But what about Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger, Elvis Presley, and John F. Kennedy, Jr.?  This week, the Reelz Channel premiered a new television series called Celebrity Legacies.  The documentary series explores a different celebrity each week, discussing their legacies, estates, and what they left behind:  Feuding heirs? Mounting debt?  Or a golden legacy glittered with fame and fortune?  Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, The Sopranos

The premiere episode delved into James Gandolfini.  The late Soprano’s star died shockingly in 2013, leaving behind two young children — from two different marriages — and an estate plan that was, well, not exactly perfect.

We appear on each of the 26 episodes of Celebrity Legacies, providing legal and financial commentary and analysis.  On the premiere, we talked about how James Gandolfini’s will was initially done as a Band-Aid measure, after his daughter was born.  Instead of using a revocable living trust to keep his affairs private and outside of probate Read more...

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