Celebrity Wills: Ugly Probate Process from Poor Planning

Celebrity wills
London, United Kingdom – April 28, 2008 : The Diana Princess Of Wales Memorial Walk in Hyde Park, dedicated in memory to Diana, Princess of Wales.

These celebrity wills show what can happen when you do not have a proper estate plan in place.

Although Michael Jackson had setup a trust before he died, his estate still underwent a very public probate process because his will did not properly transfer his assets to the trust, so they were subject to the probate process, and therefore public record. The general public learned about all of the fighting going on in Jackson’s estate as well as financial information, such as his mother’s monthly grooming expenses of $1,000 and his family’s monthly allowance of $86,000.

Princess Diana left a “letter of wishes” giving her godchildren ¼ of her estate, but the executors of her will convinced the court to disregard the letter without notifying the godchildren. Again, this estate because public record and the actions of Princess Diana’s executors did not reflect the same values that she showed in her lifetime.

And, as mentioned in a previous Celebrity Wills Blog, Former Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Warren Burger, cost his children millions of dollars in taxes because his will, which he wrote himself, failed to give his co-executors the power they needed to sell real estate, pay taxes, and otherwise manage the estate.


Like these celebrity wills, if you hold assets in Florida, especially if they equate to a large value, then you could be subject to a public, messy probate proceeding if you do not properly document your wishes for your assets. Failure to have a proper estate plan can result in your assets being improperly distributed. In addition, if you do not properly plan for estate taxes, then the majority of your estate could end up being paid in taxes to the IRS.

If you are a foreign individual who owns assets in Florida, then it is important to make sure that your foreign estate plan and your Florida estate plan are consistent with both applicable laws so that there will not be additional work, and therefore additional attorneys’ fees paid from the estate, during the ancillary probate process.

Whether you are a full-time Florida resident or a foreign national who owns assets in Florida, contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. today to see how we can assist you with your Will and other estate planning needs.

Death and Taxes And the Florida Probate Process

Death and Taxes

Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes.

This is also true for the Florida probate process.

The purpose of the Florida probate process is to gather the assets and debts of the deceased, pay the debts off, and distribute the remaining assets to the heirs. The Florida personal representative is responsible for ensuring this process is properly completed with the assistance of an attorney.

During the Florida probate process, the Florida personal representative will also need to ensure that all Estate taxes as well as the individual taxes of the deceased have been filed and paid before the probate matter can be closed and the assets can be distributed to the heirs.

If you have been named as the personal representative of an estate in Florida, or where the deceased passed away owning assets in Florida, or if you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one and would like to be appointed as the Personal Representative for the estate, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. today.

A Florida Trust May Protect Your Heirs from a Large Estate Tax

Florida trustA Florida trust is an estate planning document that has many benefits, including tax benefits.

A Florida trust can own many different types of property, such as a business, a house, a commercial property, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and more. One of the greatest benefits of a trust is the estate tax benefits for your heirs when you pass away.

Estate Planning in Florida is especially important for foreign individuals because although Florida does not currently have an active Estate Tax, the Federal Estate tax exemption is capped at $60,000.00, and the top Federal Estate tax is 40%!

According to Zillow.com, a lead real estate search site, the average home price in Florida is over $170,000.00. If you had to pay a 40% tax on a $170,000.00 house with a $60,000.00 exemption, without taking into consideration depreciation and tax treaties, then that means you would have to pay $44,000.00 to the U.S. Federal government just to transfer your property to your rightful heirs, such as your children.


If you have children or other dependants, then you should consider setting up a trust in order to protect them in case anything should happen to you. Here at Boyer Law Firm, we assist international and domestic clients with Estate Planning, such as Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorneys, Living Wills, and more.

If you are a foreign individual who owns assets in Florida or if you are a U.S. resident with assets in Florida, then contact Boyer Law Firm today.

How Can I be Appointed as a Florida Personal Representative?

Florida Personal RepresentativePersonal representatives are required to hire an attorney in Florida.

A Florida personal representative may be appointed in the deceased’s will. If the deceased passed away without a will, then a beneficiary can petition to become the personal representative of the Estate. The Court will appoint a personal representative for the Estate in either instance.

The personal representative is in charge of the administration of the Estate and as such holds a fiduciary responsibility.

A Florida personal representative is required to hire an attorney to guide them through the process, but there are tasks required in the administration of many probates that the personal representative must perform. These may include the obtainment of a safe deposit box inventory, communication with other beneficiaries and heirs if the situation is amicable, and reviewing and signing documents to be submitted to the Court.

If you recently suffered the loss of a loved one and would like to be appointed as the personal representative of the Estate, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L.’s probate attorneys today.

Florida One of Top States for Low Tax Burden

According to a recent study by WalletHub, Florida is in the top 10 states for the lowest tax burden on “High Income” and “Middle Income” taxpayers.

It is also the only southeastern state in the top 10 states with a low tax burden, other than Alabama, which ranks lower on the results.

Miami Beach panorama

State “Low Income” Rank
(Tax Burden as a % of Income)
“Middle Income” Rank
(Tax Burden as a % of Income)
“High Income” Rank
(Tax Burden as a % of Income)
Alaska 1
Wyoming 6
Nevada 4
Tennessee 16
South Dakota 28
New Hampshire 8
Florida 17
North Dakota 10
Alabama 25
Delaware 2


In addition to the beach and sun, the tax benefits and low tax burden of living in Florida add to the list of reasons to live and do business in the Florida. If you are thinking about moving to Florida or if you are interested in starting a Florida business, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. today.

If you are a foreign individual who already lives or does business in Florida, or if you are thinking about moving to or starting a business in Florida, then you should contact an attorney to assist you with tax planning for yourself, your business, and your estate.

Tax planning may include restructuring your company, creating estate planning documents such as trusts and power of attorneys, and much more.


Chart provided by: http://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-be-rich-poor-from-a-tax-perspective/11257/