Ugly Probate for Poorly Planned Celebrity Wills: 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.