Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former Vice-President Candidate John Edwards, passed away from cancer on December 7, 2010 at the age of 61. A mere 6 days before she died, Elizabeth created a new will … one that didn’t mention her husband, even once.
Who can blame her? After all, John first denied — then admitted to — having an affair, which produced a child, whom he first denied — but then admitted — was his.
Many media reports about this will say that John was cut out completely and Elizabeth left everything to her children. This isn’t entirely true.
In reality, Elizabeth left everything except her personal property to a revocable living trust she created, the Anania Edwards Trust (“Anania” was her maiden name). Because trusts, unlike wills, are private documents, we don’t know for certain who the beneficiaries of her trust are.
But, it’s safe to assume John isn’t one of them. On the other hand, he could change that. Spouses in North Carolina, as in most Read more...
Walt Disney World is a great vacation spot and a wonderful way to spend the holidays. We just returned from there with our three children. So it’s ironic that we recently learned about a messy court fight involving two of Disney’s grandchildren and their share of the massive Disney fortune.
Disney passed in 1966 at the age of 65. He left behind two daughters and 10 grandchildren. One of his two daughters, Sharon Mae Disney, had married and then divorced a real estate developer named Bill Lund. Lund was the man who located and helped select Orlando, Florida as the site for Disney World. Sharon and Bill had twins, born in 1970, named Michelle and Brad.
Sharon created trusts to pass on her share of the Disney fortune to her three children (her other child was from a prior marriage). Under the trusts, the twins were entitled to substantial distributions.
How substantial? In additional to yearly distributions of around one million dollars, they can each receive larger amounts, every 5 Read more...
Former baseball manager George “Sparky” Anderson, a Hall of Fame coach who led both the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds to World Series titles, died on November 4, 2010 because of complications from dementia. He was 76 years old. Sparky was a truly-beloved sports figure who will be sorely missed, as described in this article from the Detroit Free Press.
His death comes during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. Dementia is most often caused by Alzheimer’s disease and is a growing epidemic in our country. In fact, every 70 seconds, someone else in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. It now affects over 5.3 million Americans.
When families have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, good estate planning becomes even more important. Often, people with early stages of dementia can still do the proper legal planning and protect their financial affairs.
Other times, seniors with Alzheimer’s or similar conditions are targeted by unscrupulous family members, caregivers, or others who improperly influence them to change their wills, trusts, Read more...
It’s been a relatively-quiet couple of months in the Gary Coleman estate, after the two weeks of craziness that followed his sudden death on May 28, 2010. It looks like that’s about to change.
A short recap: Coleman’s ex-wife, Shannon Price, used her medical power of attorney document to terminate Coleman’s life support, which upset his estranged parents. They then filed to open his estate, saying he died without a will, and stopped Price from planning his funeral.
But there was a will. Coleman’s ex-manager, Dion Mial, came forward with a 1999 will naming him as the executor in charge. But wait!
There was a later will, in 2005, naming Coleman’s female friend and former companion, Anna Gray as the one to be in charge of his estate. So she’s in control, right? No!
Price says she has a handwritten amendment to the will, from 2007, naming her as the executor and the beneficiary. She claims Coleman actually wanted her to inherit everything, even though they were divorced in 2008. Read more...
I Love Lucy star Lucille Ball died more than 20 years ago — on April 26, 1989, at the age of 77. So why did her daughter rush to court last week to save awards, love letters and other personal items of the famous comedienne?
Reportedly, when Lucille passed, she left love letters between she and her first husband, Desi Arnaz, along with her lifetime achievement awards, photographs and other items to Lucille and Desi’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill. But, apparently, Luckinbill never claimed the items from Lucille’s estate and lost them.
So they ended up in the hands of Susie Morton. Morton is the widow of Gary Morton, who was Lucille Ball’s second husband. After Lucille passed, these items, along with a Rolls-Royce, were passed to Gary Morton, and then onto Susie after Gary died.
Susie Morton placed the items up for sale at a Beverly Hills, California auction house, with the sale set to start this past Saturday, July 17, 2010. When Luckinbill’s attorney threatened legal action to Read more...
Forbes.com recently featured an article we wrote about our celebrity-based Trial & Heirs‘ Top Five Estate Planning Tips for Divorcees. Here’s a shortened version. Go to Forbes.com for the full article:
1. Update your will and/or trust. Life events like divorces are a critical time to update all estate planning documents with an experienced attorney.
Take the case of Gary Coleman. Since his death, a variety of documents have surfaced purporting to be his will. We know that Gary Coleman was divorced in 2008 from his wife, Shannon Price. It was on an episode of Divorce Court after all! The problem is that Price claims that she’s entitled to inherit all of Coleman’s assets based on a 2007 handwritten will and as his “common-law wife.” Now it looks like the estate will be tied up in a long and nasty fight. If Gary Coleman had an estate planning attorney draft a clear will after his divorce, the impending legal battle may have been avoided.
2. Don’t forget the Read more...