Category Archives: Estate Planning

I’m healthy, so I don’t understand why I should make a Power of Attorney for Property

Etta James’s Story R&B singer Etta James won six Grammy Awards during her career. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008. That same year, she signed a Power of Attorney appointing her son Donto James to look after her property. Not surprisingly, her current husband, Artis Mills, challenged the Power of Attorney on the basis that she was […]

I’m afraid my children will say I was incompetent when I made my Will

Leona Helmsley’s Story Real estate tycoon Leona Helmsley, who served time in jail for tax evasion, was referred to in the tabloids as The Queen of Mean. When she died in 2007 at the age of 87, she left an estate worth billions. Her closest surviving relatives were her four grandchildren. For reasons she did not explain, […]

Why should I leave my Will at my lawyer’s? I prefer to keep it at home in my sock drawer

FloJo’s Story Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner—better known as FloJo— set world records in 1988 in both the 100-metre and 200-metre events. Sadly, she died ten years later at the age of only 38. Her family believed she had made a will, but they couldn’t track it down. Years of legal battles followed as Joyner’s husband and her mother couldn’t agree on whether FloJo had […]

My employer promised to leave me a house but forgot to put it in his will!

Marlon Brando’s Story  Marlon Brando was one of the most admired—and unconventional—actors of all time. In 1973 he rejected his Academy Award for Best Actor for The Godfather to protest the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. When he died in 2004 at the age of 80, his long-time housekeeper Angela Borlaza came forward […]

Who should I name as my Executor?

Doris Duke’s Story  Doris Duke was a tobacco heiress, socialite and philanthropist who had a colourful personal life. In 1987, when she was 75 years old, she hired Bernard Lafferty as her personal butler, and Lafferty soon became her companion and closest confidant, although there does not seem to have been a romantic relationship. She made […]

I’m still in my 20s—why do I need to update my Will?

Heath Ledger’s Story In 2009 Australian actor Heath Ledger became the first person ever to win an Oscar posthumously, for his role as the Joker in the Dark Knight. Heath had died of an accidental overdose of prescription medications a few months earlier at the age of only 28. He had made a will in 2003, which […]

I’m afraid my Executors may not get along

Tom Petty’s Story    Tom Petty, one of the  best-selling musicians of all time died in 2017 at the age of 66 following an accidental drug overdose. He named his wife Dana as sole trustee of his estate but instructed her to set up a new limited liability company to manage his most valuable asset, his music catalogue. Unfortunately, he did not clearly state who was to be in charge of this new […]

If I die without a Will, can the person I consider my brother inherit?

Duane Nelson’s story Superstar Prince died at his Paisley Park mansion in Minneapolis in 2016 following an accidental overdose. He was 57 years old and left an estate worth about $200 million, but no will. Prince’s parents were deceased, he was twice divorced, and he had no children, so one of the first issues was […]

What will happen if I disinherit a child?

John Lennon’s Story When former Beatle John Lennon was murdered in 1980, he left an estate reported to be worth over $276 million. He also left a clear, detailed will, naming his widow, Yoko Ono, and his accountant as his executors. The main beneficiaries were Yoko Ono and their son Sean. But John had another […]

One of my kids is quite well off, so I won’t leave him anything

David Sedaris’s story Award-winning author David Sedaris grew up as one of six children. In a recent essay in the New Yorker, he tells about flying home to see his dying father. David writes: “All he’s ever cared about is money, so it had hurt me to learn, a few years earlier, that he’d cut me out of his will. Had he talked it […]