10 June 2014 0 Comments

More Final Mistakes of the Famous

shutterstock_186048416A continuation of my previous entry.

Jimi Hendrix

The legendary guitarist and musician died in September, 1970.  He did not leave a will.  For nearly 20 years a California attorney managed the estate until Jimi’s father, Al Hendrix, sued and won the rights to Jimi’s music.  In 2002 the value of the estate was an estimated $80 Million.  When Al died, he left the estate to his adopted daughter from a later marriage, Janie.  Leon Hendrix, Jimi’s half-brother, who was reportedly very close to Jimi, sued to be written back into Al’s will claiming that Janie manipulated her father into cutting Leon and others out of the inheritance who Jimi would have wanted to remember.

It wasn’t a pretty picture as some small victories were granted to Al’s side, but the judge ruled that “Janie was the family member who Al trusted the most.”

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando died at age 80 in July 2004 with an estate of more than $20 Million.  His housekeeper, Angela Boriaza, claimed that Brando verbally promised her continued employment and the house she lived in, saying that it was left in his name only for tax purposes.  She sued Brando’s estate alleging that she was a victim of a broken oral contract and accused the executors of transferring power over to themselves via a codicil to Brando’s will.  Boriaza eventually settled for $125,000.

This is the type of scenario that could have easily been settled with a life insurance policy for the benefit of Boriaza set up in an ILIT for pennies on the dollar and no post death legal hassle and cost.

Sonny Bono

The recording artist, record producer, actor and politician died in January 1998 with an estate valued at $1.66 Million.  Sonny left his widow, Mary Bono, without even a simple will or trust.  He did leave behind four children—two adults and four minors at the time of his death—from a total of four marriages.

Although Sonny had a surviving spouse, all of his children were entitled to a portion of his estate under California law.  The court appointed Mary as the estate’s administrator, but she had no instructions on how to sort out the distributions.  To add fuel to the fire, Mary Bono later had to defend a claim from a love child that came forward and filed as an heir-in-law, as well as a claim from Sonny’s famous ex-wife, Cher, who alleged that Sonny will owed her money from their divorce.

In summation

Life Insurance is only one element of planning for your death.  That may not be a gentile way to put it, but we all die; we just don’t know when that will happen.  Is it time to coordinate your estate desires with your financial team:  attorney, accountant and life insurance agent?  Do it while you’re still on the green side of the grass.

Cut out the B.S. you’ve told me, and tell us in simple language what’s the best type of policy to buy.  That’s what I’ll do next.

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