Trial and Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!
From Michael Jackson to Anna Nicole Smith, it's clear that when a star dies it doesn't take long before the battle for their millions begins. Since Michael Jackson's sudden death five months ago, the Jackson family has had no resolution over his trust and assets, and Anna Nicole Smith's case has endured for 14 years in a dispute over a $1.6 billion estate. But you don't have to have millions or billions to benefit from estate planning, explains the authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! Find out what you can learn from high-profile cases about protecting your family.
"He definitely made some mistakes, but he also gets points for doing a couple things right," explains attorney and author Danielle Mayoras. "He did a will, so he gets a point for that, he did a trust ... and the third thing is he named guardians for his minor children, but the big mistake he made is he never transferred his assets into his trust in his lifetime and because of that there's this whole media circus going on."
Tip: If you establish a trust for your children make sure to fill it up with funds.
Anna Nicole Smith
"This is a big one, it's a $1.6 billion estate and it's been going on for 14 years!" Danielle says about the fortune left by Anna Nicole Smith's billionaire husband. The fortune was left to his son, which Anna Nicole disputed in court and won, but the case remains in appeals after reaching the Supreme Court. "In Anna Nicole's case, he got married but he never updated his documents," Danielle explains. "People need to update their documents so they stay in control of who they want getting their money and how they want them to get it."
Tip: If you are pregnant or have children, update your will - and don't forget to update the document when your assets change.
"He didn't have a will, he had no estate planning done and he was shot by his mistress, leaving a wife, four children - two with his wife and two with other mothers," Danielle explains. "He had a $20 million estate." The wife filed to open up the estate and named her two kids as heirs, but not the other children.
"We call that one of the danger zones of estate planning," Danielle's husband and co-author Andrew explains. "When you know you've got a second marriage situation, that's all the more reason to do the planning the right way because the chances for trouble are magnified 100-fold when you know you've got a spouse who may not get along with the kids, and once the loved one in the middle passes they've got no reason to hold their emotions in check anymore ... and that's when the fighting starts!"
Tip: Don't wait until you are a senior citizen for estate planning. Write a will when you have kids or begin to accumulate assets.
- latest show clips
- celebrity friends
- cooking videos
- rachael between the scenes
- backstage pass
- tips and stories
- be on the show
- set tour
- audience tickets
- rachael's bio
- what's rach wearing
- rach on the radio
- follow us on twitter
- join us on facebook