Surrogate Court dockets are filled with cases involving family members fighting over the assets and intentions of a deceased parent or spouse. Probate Wars of the Rich & Famous: An Insider’s Guide to Estate Planning and Probate Litigation tracks the estate litigation cases of Anna Nicole Smith, Brooke Astor, Michael Jackson, Nina Wang, Jerry Garcia and Leona Helmsley and identifies the five universal factors that caused such disputes. Each chapter provides estate planning insights designed to help individuals plan their estates without causing litigation. If, however, probate litigation cannot be avoided, the book also provides invaluable lessons about undue influence claims, how to remove a fiduciary, demanding an estate accounting and claims seeking to set aside lifetime transfers that undermined the decedents intentions. Few - if any – estate planning books utilize colorful celebrity accounts to provide meaningful insights and actionable advice.
Praise for Probate Wars of the Rich & Famous
"If you want a treasure trove of good counsel, a fresh, creative and novel approach to legacy building, or just to be entertained read this book."
H. Edward Wilkin III, CPA
"If the author′s objective was to encourage readers to think about their own legacies and educate readers about the estates of the rich and famous with a healthy dose of comedic surprises then Fishkind has accomplished his objective."
Leslie E. Streitfeld, CLU, ChFC, CEP, LUTCF, RFC
"Fishkind′s Probate Wars is entertaining, educational from a historical perspective, and very instructive from a legal and practical perspective."
Marshall Paul, Esq.
"Russell Fishkind did a magnificent job putting a spotlight on his ′legacy lessons′ by using the very public disasters of the rich and famous. A humorous look at a serious topic."
William McDevitt, CPA
"Don′t be caught dead without reading Probate Wars of the Rich and Famous!"
William L. Melillo, Jr., President, OIC
"A truly unique look at the lives and deaths of Anna Nicole, Michael Jackson, Jerry Garcia, Brooke Astor and Leona Helmsley through lenses I had never worn. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Bravo!"
Linda Hanley, President, NJALS
"An outstanding take on how life′s journeys can be undermined by ineffective estate planning. If a family′s battling over the assets of a departed soul, Fishkind gives the reader terrific practical advice. Well done."
Erik Wildstein, President, The Wildstein Group
About the Author xiii
Chapter 1 Legacy of a Lifetime 5
Legacy Lesson #1: The Estate Planning Effect 9
Legacy Lesson #2: Passing the Torch without Getting Burned 10
Legacy Lesson #3: The Holistic Approach 11
Legacy Lesson #4: Dropping the Gauntlet 12
Chapter 2 Stripping and Being Stripped 13
Legacy Lesson #5: The Elective Share and Prenuptial Agreement 27
Legacy Lesson #6: Providing Equitably Both for a Second Spouse and Children from a Prior Marriage 28
Legacy Lesson #7: Disinheriting a Family Member 30
Chapter 3 The Astor Disaster: A Legacy of Influence and Undue Influence 33
Legacy Lesson #8: Monitor the Health and the Wealth of a Loved One Who Is Ill and Vulnerable 79
Legacy Lesson #9: Anatomy of a Contested Estate 88
Legacy Lesson #10: Influence or Undue Influence? 91
Legacy Lesson #11: By Gift or by Theft? 94
Legacy Lesson #12: Time in a Bottle Good Days and Bad Days 97
Legacy Lesson #13: Protecting against Fraud 99
Chapter 4 The Benevolent Queen of Mean 105
Legacy Lesson #14: Protect the Pooch 119
Legacy Lesson #15: The Grim Reaper′s Silver Lining 124
Legacy Lesson #16: A Generation Skipped 127
Legacy Lesson #17: Buried, But Not Resting Peacefully 129
Legacy Lesson #18: The Mission Statement: A Legacy Builder or Buster 134
Chapter 5 A Sweet and Sour Legacy 139
Legacy Lesson #19: A Stitch in Time Saves Nine 148
Legacy Lesson #20: Respecting the Formalities of a Will Signing 149
Legacy Lesson #21: Clarity versus Ambiguity 150
Legacy Lesson #22: Videotaping a Will Signing 151
Chapter 6 Is This It? 153
Legacy Lesson #23: Raising Helen 168
Legacy Lesson #24: If You Want Privacy, Use a Revocable Trust 170
Legacy Lesson #25: The Business of the Business 171
Chapter 7 Lessons from the Dead 183
Legacy Lesson #26: A Legacy in the Hands of Fiduciaries 200
Legacy Lesson #27: Heirlooms Can Define a Legacy 202
Chapter 8 At the End of the Day 205
Appendix A Fact Sheet for Last Will and Testament 209
Appendix B Probate Litigation Fact Sheet 221
Russell J. Fishkind is a Partner in the Personal Wealth, Estates and Trusts Department at Saul Ewing LLP, where he focuses on high net worth estate planning, business succession planning, estate administration, and probate litigation. He is also an Associate Adjunct Professor at New York University, where he teaches estate and business succession planning. Fishkind is the author ofLegacy of a Lifetime, coauthor of theJ.K. Lasser Pro Estate and Business Succession Planning (first and second editions) textbook, and a contributing author to SophisticatedEstate Planning: Using Tax Laws to Your Clients′ Advantage published by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education. He was recognized as a Super Lawyer in 2005, 2007 and 2009.