“Death and taxes,” they say, are life’s only two sureties. But we’d argue that “bitter family squabbles in the absence of a solid will” qualifies as a third. Cases in point: check out these two, infamous, estate-related scandals that unfurled into epic domestic legal battles.
Estate Planning Legal Battles: Marshall v. Marshall
She was the buxom and breathy small-town-girl turned Playboy Playmate. He was the wealthy baron sixty-two years her senior. They married; it lasted 14 months; then he passed away. Such was the story of Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall II. Now, you might assume that Anna Nicole walked away with a chunk of J. Howard’s $1.6 billion fortune. But E. Pierce Marshall, J. Howard’s son, was the only beneficiary listed in the will.
Well, the young Mrs. Marshall didn’t take kindly to the oversight. J. Howard, as Anna Nicole would tell it, promised her half his fortune, but E. Pierce used forgery, fraud and even false imprisonment to cheat her out of millions! Tragically, Anna Nicole died before judges settled the matter, but the case will go down in the annals of estate lawsuits.
Estate Planning Legal Battles: Eleanor Close Borzin
Long before the Trumps moved in, Mar-a-Lago belonged to the Post family — the wealthy American dynasty of General Foods fame. By the time the noughties rolled around, a single heiress remained: Eleanor Close Borzin. Unfortunately, in 2006, Mrs. Borzin flew through the Pearly Gates, leaving behind a $72 million fortune.
The lack of a will didn’t cause the commotion that followed her death. Instead, Borzin had too many wills and trusts — some in the United States and some in France. The confusion pit the heiress’ son, Tony, against his daughter, Laetitia — Eleanor’s granddaughter — in a messy cross-border legal battle that lasted years.
Estate Planning is for Everyone
Estate planning isn’t only for the mega-wealthy. Houses, cars, jewels, furniture, art, stocks and even Bitcoin are all things that should be considered in a living will. Life is unpredictable; having a plan for the unexpected will invite peace of mind. Give yourself, and your loved ones, that gift by working with an estate planning lawyer Las Vegas.