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August 2012 Archives

'Jeffersons' Star Sherman Hemsley's Will Disputed, Delaying Burial

Estate planning is an important task that really needs to be taken seriously. If care is not taken, disputes can arise between family members, strangers can make claims to your estate, and your funeral can be delayed.

If you're famous, these issues are often exacerbated because more people could claim to be related to you. This unfortunate issue has befallen Sherman Hemsley, best known as George Jefferson from "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons." Hemsley's will states that his estate is to go to his longtime partner Flora Enchinton. However, a Philadelphia man, Richard Thornton, disputes Hemsley's will, claiming it was not written or signed by him, according to KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, where Helmsley lived for the past decade.

As the dispute goes on, Hemsley's body languishes at an El Paso funeral home. How can Thornton dispute Hemsley's will?

Neil Armstrong Autographed Unique Estate Plan with Life Insurance

Say you're going to take a flight into space, how would you prepare? It probably depends on the risks that you wouldn't make it back.

So imagine you were Neil Armstrong, who was planning on flying into space, landing on the moon, getting out and walking on the moon, then launching off the moon and crash landing into the ocean. There was probably a slight risk of death there. Clearly, Armstrong would have wanted to make an estate plan in the case he did not return.

At the time, the premiums on a life insurance policy that would cover a trip to the moon would have cost a fortune, according to NPR. So Armstrong and the other Apollo astronauts came up with their own life insurance policy.

Walmart Greeter Puncher Convicted Under New York's 'Granny Law'

Sure, we all agree that the holidays are a stressful time. We're forced to reunite with families that we may or may not have gotten along well with, there's more traffic, and all the stores are more crowded than usual.

Does this really give us an excuse to punch old ladies? Dane Cook suggests that certain things are so bad as to drive one to punch babies, but that's just a joke. Jacquetta Simmons, on the other hand, was not joking when she punched 70-year-old Grace Suozzi, a Batavia, N.Y., Walmart greeter last Christmas Eve, according to the New York Daily News. While Simmons has already been found guilty, her lawyer argued that she merely swung her arm with no intention to hit Suozzi, according to the Associated Press.

The convicted Walmart greeter puncher faces up to seven years in prison because of New York's "Granny Law." What is this law and what is it supposed to prevent?

Robert Treboux Passes Away, Will Le Veau d'Or Change?

When you are a business owner and thinking about estate planning, you probably wonder what you can do to make sure the business continues on in the fashion that you'd like.

This was likely a concern of Robert Treboux, the owner of Le Veau d'Or, who passed away recently at the age of 87. Treboux kept Le Veau d'Or a traditional French restaurant from when he purchased it in 1985 until now. It was called an "extraordinary time warp" and Treboux had said that diners wanting trends could "go to other places that have the plate with the little bit of food in the middle," according to The New York Times.

Was there anything he could have done to assure that Le Veau d'Or would continue on his legacy after he was gone?

Man's Will Required Gay Son to Marry Woman to Inherit

Usually, writing a will is something that is put off for years and years. When you finally get down to doing it, you write it to pass along your belongings to those who you care for. Sometimes, people write them to show specifically who they did not care for by disinheriting them.

Manhattan businessman Frank Mandelbaum did one better than disinheriting by putting a condition on the inheritance of his grandchild. Mandelbaum's will required that his son Robert Mandelbaum, a Manhattan Criminal Court Judge, marry the mother of his child within six months of the birth in order for the child to inherit part of the $180,000 trust for Frank Mandelbaum's grandchildren, according to the New York Post.

The twist is that Robert Mandelbaum is already married to a man that his father knew he was romantically involved with.

Tony Scott: Does Suicide Affect Estate Plans?

Who can forget "Top Gun," when we collectively joined Tom Cruise (and Kenny Loggins) in the "Danger Zone." There were dogfights with MiGs, sing-alongs, and the loss of Goose.

Director Tony Scott's life seemed pretty similar with his love of motorcycles and mountain climbing, and ended too soon with a loss for his family and action-movie lovers. Scott died after jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge into the Los Angeles Harbor on Sunday, according to The New York Times. There were suicide notes found in his office and in his car.

This raises the question of whether suicide affects your estate plans.

Why Should a Cosmopolitan New Yorker Have a Will?

Legendary Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown, sometimes described as "the original Carrie Bradshaw," died this week in New York. She was 90-years-old.

Brown's final years were full of fabulous friends, but her husband and sister predeceased her and she had no children. So what will become of her estate?

Kinkade Estate Battle Continues

Thomas Kinkade's estate had another eventful day in probate court, reports KTVU News.

At the center of the dispute are Kinkade's estranged wife, Nanette Kinkade, and his girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh.

Beastie Boys' MCA Places Ad Restrictions in His Will

Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys has placed some strong limitations in his will, reports Rolling Stone. In a nutshell, his will forbids the use of his likeness in advertising.

Adam Yauch, also known as MCA, passed away on May 4, 2012, from cancer. He was forty-seven years old. Yauch's will was filed with the Manhattan Surrogate's Court last week, naming his wife, Dechen, as executor.

How to Draft and Execute a NY Power of Attorney

The financial power of attorney is one of the most important documents in an estate plan.

A financial power of attorney gives another person the power to act on your behalf, as it relates to your finances. You can have an immediate power of attorney or a springing power of attorney.

Here are some quick terms to know:

What New York Women Need to Know About Estate Planning

In an article posted last summer, Forbes commented that women are more interested in losing weight than protecting their financial assets.

Ouch. Harsh words but are they true?

Conor Kennedy Joins Battle Over His Mom's Estate

Mary Kennedy’s estate is back in Surrogate’s Court. This time, the burial issue has been resolved (for now) and the court is hearing the case on who will serve as administrator of the estate.

Mary and Robert Kennedy Jr.’s son, Conor Kennedy, just turned eighteen last week, reports The Associated Press. His lawyer argued that this qualified him to serve as administrator of his mother’s estate.

Jermaine Jackson Backs out of Michael Jackson Estate Battle

Michael Jackson’s estate battle has been in the news very publicly but now, one of his siblings is speaking out about it.

Jermaine Jackson is stating that the battle should not have happened on public turf. He and his brother, Tito, have withdrawn their names from a letter sent to the executors of the estate and have renounced their involvement in the battle over their late brother’s estate, reports Star Pulse.

Beware of Formula Clauses and Estate Tax Uncertainty

Uncertainty with estate tax can cause many problems when it comes to drafting estate planning documents.

These issues might not always be directly tax-related, though. Take the estate of Eileen Tweten, writes Reuters. The estate tax lapse of 2010 caused her estate plan to go to court, due to something called a "formula clause."