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Chain of Fools

When Aretha Franklin died last week after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, she allegedly did not leave a will. She is survived by her four sons, one of whom has special needs, who will receive equal shares of her estate. Her niece asked to be appointed as representative of her $80 million estate. Aretha’s copyright attorney told reporters that when there is no will, “there will always end up being a fight.”

Some points of relevant interest:

1. No one wins a long battle with pancreatic cancer. See Jobs, Steve.  Prepare a will.

2. When a woman dies without a will, there should not be much to dispute because there are no illegitimate children to contest heirship.

3. The niece’s fee for serving as personal rep. could be $1.6 million.  One of the sons should have dibs on this role.

4. Surprisingly, Madonna did not ask to be appointed as personal representative.  

Photo Credit:  Jae C. Hong/AP

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Close a Chapter

Janice and I dropped Jack at Ohio State on Saturday, closing the “married with children at home” chapter of our lives. He did not take the super hero lunch box.

iPhoneJD

Jeff Richardson is a New Orleans attorney who writes a blog named iPhoneJD. He posts about matters concerning iPhones (and other iOS devices) and the practice of law. He asked me to write a post about the apps I prefer. Because I have too much free time, I obliged.

(Not) Gentle On His Mind

After Glen Campbell died last year of Alzheimer’s disease, his fourth wife of 35 years presented a will to the probate court which excluded his 3 children from his second marriage. The will, which was executed in 2006, did provide for his wife and all of his children from his first, third, and fourth marriages. Naturally, his excluded children are contesting his mental capacity to execute the will.

Several brief points:

1. Campbell’s disinherited children will have to prove that Alzheimer’s caused him to forget that they were his children, or to harbor animus to them.

2. Their case will be difficult to prove because the will was executed five years prior to him telling the public that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

3. Their case will be doubly difficult because Campbell’s 2001 will also excluded them.

4. As a general rule, if you want to inherit from your father, do not sue him while he is alive (as they were alleged to have done over publishing rights).

Photo Credit:  Calli Shell for The Tennessean (in linked article)

License:  Fair Use/Education

Will, Trust, and Net Worth Unknown

Reports of the net worth and estate plan of celebrity chef and television host, Anthony Bourdain, are being circulated in various media outlets. The reports state that Bourdain, who was estranged from his wife at the time of his death, left his $1.2 million estate to his 11 year old daughter. His estate supposedly consisted of $450K in bank accounts, $250K of household goods, and $500K of goodwill associated with his name. Other reports state that he had a trust for his daughter and his estranged wife is the trustee of the trust. Also, if his daughter pre-deceased him, his estate was to go to the nanny of his daughter.
Several points:
1. At the time of his suicide, Bourdain was reportedly worth $16 million which is 10X more than the value listed in the probate filings.
2. The value of personal property and celebrity goodwill are often overstated which means that Bourdain might only have been worth $450K at the time of his death, half of which would have gone to his estranged wife after the finalization of their divorce.
3. The trustee of the trust for his daughter was his estranged wife. I never have an estranged or former spouses control the funds for a child because the spouse could use the funds for himself/herself.
4. In spite of trusting his wife with the funds or his daughter, Bourdain must have disliked her immensely if he wanted his money to go to the daughter’s nanny if his daughter was not living.
 
Photo Credit:  Joe Brier for USA Today
License:  Fair Use/Education (in linked article)

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All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.