Category Archives: Estate Planning

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 […]

Why Do Fools Fall in Love (so often)?

Frankie Lymon’s Story Boy soprano Frankie Lymon was only thirteen years old in 1956 when he and his group The Teenagers recorded their massive hit “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” a song Frankie had co-written.  Heady with success, Frankie decided to attempt a solo career, but he could never duplicate his initial triumph. In […]

The law treats common law spouses and married spouses the same, doesn’t it?

Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Story Philip Seymour Hoffman was a widely admired actor, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Truman Capote in a 2005 biopic. Sadly, his career was cut short when he died in 2014 at age 46 following an overdose. He left behind his common law partner Mimi […]

If I die without a Will, can my common law partner claim my estate?

Stieg Larsson’s Story Stieg Larsson was the author of the Millennium trilogy, a series of bestselling crime novels that began with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” His novels have sold about 55 million copies worldwide and were made into a hit movie. From the age of 18, Stieg lived with Eva Gabrielsson, but they never […]

Can I leave money to a pet?

Oprah Winfrey’s Story Media mogul Oprah is well known as a dog lover. She calls her dogs her “fur children,” and they often appear with her in photoshoots. One of the wealthiest women in the world, Oprah reportedly has set aside $30 million in a trust to look after her pooches after she dies. Lawyer’s comment:  Many […]

Dealing with Personal Property: I don’t care who gets the family teacups!

Robin Williams’s Story Actor and comedian Robin Williams was caught up in several lawsuits during his life, so he wanted to make sure his estate plan was secure. This was tricky, because he was married to Susan, his third wife, and also had adult children from his first and second marriages. He tried to come up with a plan […]

Should I specify my wishes for a Memorial Service or Celebration of Life?

Janis Joplin’s Story Beloved rock and blues singer Janis Joplin of a drug overdose at the age of 27 in 1970. In her will, which she had revised just two days before her death, she left $2,500 to pay for an all-night celebration of her life at her favourite pub in San Anselmo, California, “so my friends can get blasted after I’m gone.” Lawyer’s Comment: Including in your will […]