Learn from Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes


Celebrities who are worth millions may seem to lead a charmed life, but your favorite celebs are still prone to making some serious estate planning mistakes. How can you avoid these pitfalls?

Second marriages are becoming more and more common, but blended families can create estate planning conflicts. For example, radio DJ Casey Kasem's second wife and his adult children clashed over his medical care during his final days and it’s likely that they’ll be in conflict over his estate as well. If you’re on your second marriage, it’s vital that you do your best to foster good relationships between your second spouse and your children and create an estate plan that leaves no doubt as to your wishes.

Along the same lines, don’t forget that estate plans are designed to be a work in progress. They need to be reevaluated periodically to make sure they reflect the current circumstances of your life. Author Michael Crichton died in 2008 when his wife was pregnant with their fifth child. His previous will had explicitly excluded future children from inheriting, leading to a court battle between his adult daughter from a previous marriage and his wife (representing the interests of their newborn son). Changes in tax laws, moves to a different state, and significant increases or decrease in assets are also reasons why it might be time to rethink your estate plan.

One of the most important reasons to have your estate plan created by a professional is to minimize the impact of taxes on the assets passed to your heirs. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s estate plan is a tragic example of this mistake. He never married his longtime partner and did not create trusts for his children, creating a large tax bill as his estate goes through public probate.

How Can We Help?

Consulting an experienced estate planning attorney is the best way to ensure that you’ll be prepared no matter what the future holds. If you are in need of legal representation relating to an estate planning issue, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com.