Estate planning allows people to control their property while they are alive, care for their loved ones and give what they want to whom they want. If you don’t have an estate plan, state law will control administering the estate and distributing the assets to the heirs. With all the millions some celebrities have, you would think they obtained good estate planning advice. But too often after a celebrity’s death, we learn that they made some simple blunders that trigger years of court battles or cost their heirs millions of dollars. Prince and Sonny Bono are prime examples.
Many people were surprised to learn that the entertainer Prince had no will. As a result, a Minnesota judge will decide how to distribute Prince’s $300 million estate among his six siblings. However, other potential heirs surfaced, which prompted DNA testing and additional court battles. Without an estate plan, more than half of Prince’s estate will go to state and federal taxes.
Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident, leaving behind a wife and four children. His widow filed to open Sonny’s estate, intestate because there was no will. Another man came forward and said he was Sonny’s child from a prior relationship. The man convinced the probate court to allow DNA testing. After the results came back, the man went away quietly. Public records do not reveal whether the man did not have the right DNA or if there was a cash settlement.
Lawyers at Beasley Allen are involved in litigating probate disputes concerning wills, trusts, and estates. This litigation covers a multitude of situations like the ones above, cases involving undue influence and lack of capacity, as well as cases involving financial elder abuse. If you have a possible probate litigation issue, contact Lance Gould or Leslie Pescia, lawyers in our firm, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Lance.Gould@beasleyallen.com or Leslie.Pescia@beasleyallen.com.
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