Do you find it fascinating reading about the rich and famous? The book “Trial & Heirs – Famous Fortune Fights” is sure to please. More importantly it will give you great insights into the errors people make when writing wills.
Trial & Heirs was authored by legacy expert attorneys, Andrew and Danielle Mayoras of the USA. These well-researched stories of celebrities and how their heirs fought over the estate set the stage for teaching us how to manage our legacies.
There are two elements to this book.
The first is all the wonderful stories of how famous people have either not made a will or the will was not properly executed to ensure that the right people got the inheritance that was intended. The fallout for their heirs was sometimes quite catastrophic. Apart from your idle curiosity about how the rich and famous manage their estates, the stories are likely to spark some interest in how you should review your will and trusts to ensure all is in order. Unless you have been very vigilant about your wills, I hope you will be prompted to revisit all your documents pertaining to passing on your wealth.
The second topic discusses in detail the financial cost in terms of taxes where estates have not been prepared correctly. All this information pertains to the American State and Federal taxes, all of which have different rules. Most American States have the equivalent of “Death Duties” which we do not have in Australia. However, you can see other parallels if you do not play too much importance on the actual costs. It also explains many legal terms relating to wills and in general they will be similar to those in Australia.
Federal Death Duties in Australia were introduced in 2014 and abolished in 1979. There were also State Death Duties which have also been abolished. However, one needs to keep in mind there is always a legislative risk that they may be re-introduced. To some extent, Capital Gains Tax has replaced this revenue. Where real estate is held for a long period of time, this tax can be quite substantial when the property is sold. This is another reason to review your will and see to what extent you can ease this burden when assets are passed to your heirs.
It is quite disturbing that over half of Australian adults do not have a will. While I am sure most would recognize the need to have a will, it seems this job is consistently deferred for any number of reasons. Read my article, Wills – Do you need one?
By taking this attitude you are exposing your family to unnecessary risks.
Please read this book and be prompted to write or update your will immediately.
The authors have put together a wonderful collection of famous people. Some of these people went to great lengths to ensure their affairs were in order, but the attorneys failed to execute the will correctly or other legal matters such as Trusts and Joint Ownership negated the desired effect.
To name, but a few of these people, I have selected these best-known celebrities:
Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra, Howard Hughes, Heath Ledger
Flo-Jo, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, James Brown
Princess Dianna, Whitney Houston, Marlon Brando, Martin Luther King Jr
Michael Hutchence, Senator Ted Kenney, Anna Nicole Smith
I am confident you will find this book both entertaining and give you greater insights into the importance of having correctly constructed trusts and wills.
Glenis Phillips SF FIN – Good Financial Reads