Far-Out Friday: Top 10 Hollywood Estate-Planning Mishaps

Far-Out Friday: Top 10 Hollywood Estate-Planning Mishaps

Far-Out Friday: Top 10 Hollywood Estate-Planning Mishaps

5. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Estate Value: $35 million (estimate)

This Oscar-winning actor failed to update his will - reportedly written in 2004 by an expert in real estate not estate planning - despite having two daughters after that time. Following his sudden death earlier this year, Seymour Hoffman's estate was left to his partner, Mimi O’Donnell, giving her the option of rejecting the inheritance to place the assets in a trust. The will did mention his son, born prior to 2004, which risks alienating his daughters from any share of the inheritance. Under New York law, it will likely take a lengthy court battle to correct the oversight.

4. Stieg Larsson

Estate Value: At least $40 million (including post-mortem earnings)

The author of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and other international best sellers died in 2004, prior to his books taking off, leaving his girlfiend of 30 years, Eva Gabrielsson, and his family to battle over future book sale proceeds. The family claims they gave Gabrielsson the author's apartment and offered her $2.6 million, despite Swedish law not recognizing common-law marriage. Gabrielsson was not satisfied and wrote a autobiography staunchly communicating so in 2011.

3. Joe Robbie

Estate Value: $45 million

The former owner of the Miami Dolphins - the only team undefeated in NFL history during the 1972-73 season - built up a fortune before his death in 1990. Beyond a $45-million tax bill to settle with the IRS, family fueds among his 11 children reached a fever pitch during the settlement of his estate. The IRS was satisfied once the team was sold, but with that went Robbie's legacy, leading to his name being stripped off the stadium he helped build.

2. James Brown

Estate Value: $100 million

After the “Godfather of Soul” died in 2006, his will stated that almost all of his estate be left to the James Brown “I Feel Good Trust," to help disadvantaged children in Georgia and South Carolina, while personal and household effects were to be divvied between his six children, and an education trust set up for his grandchildren. What transpired was a series of lawsuits and a settlement, which was overturned by the South Carolina Supreme Court, ruling that the state’s attorney general had no right mediate - which included rewriting the plan to award half the money to Brown's children. The case was sent back to Aiken County in 2013.

1. Michael Jackson

Estate Value: $7 million to $1.13 billion

When the "King of Pop" died suddenly in 2009, his estate was valued at $7 million by executors, while now the IRS says given intellectual and song copyrights, its worth sits at more than $1 billion. Despite this, the taxman says the estate owes $505 million in back taxes and $197 million in fines and penalties. If the IRS wins, the U.S. government could end up owning interest in songs like the Beatles 'Yesterday.'



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