Shades of Gray
- Friday, 12 October 2012 23:26
No, not the book. The Monkees song.
After Davy Jones of the Monkees died in February, the probate court agreed with his executrix to make his will unavailable as a public document
. For most estates, though, wills are public records and can be viewed by anyone. The speculation about the privacy request centers around Jones’ marriage to a woman half his age which occurred 5 years after he made the will and possible financial problems he was suffering. The widow has already filed a claim against the estate asking for the statutory share allowed for surviving spouses.
I doubt that his estate is proceeding as Jones would have wanted. We can learn four lessons from Jones’ errors.
1. The use of a funded trust avoids the probate process and provides privacy in administering estates abnegating the need to seal the will.
2. When marrying for the second (or especially third time), a pre-nuptial agreement is essential so that spouses know what to expect and do not file claims against the estate. It is hard to believe that Dennis Hopper got this
, but Davy Jones did not.
3. Estate planning documents should always be updated after marriage.
4. As appealing as it sounds, it is never a good idea to marry someone younger than your children.
Mike, the smart Monkee, is probably aware of all of this.